Noriyuki Haga and Michel Fabrizio expressed mixed feelings about the new Superpole qualifying system after both sampling it for the first time towards the end of pre-season testing in Portimao.
Describing the new knockout system as 'strange', Haga was nonetheless more successful than his team-mate, reaching the final segment to 'qualify' in fourth position, albeit still behind the Sterilgarda Ducati of Shane Byrne.
Pointing out that the weather, which proceeded to make things difficult for the riders throughout the weekend, could have a significant affect on qualifying this year, Haga is nonetheless looking forward to making his race debut with the Xerox team.
“Unfortunately we have not had good weather over these three days. I am however very happy with the work we've done, we've found the direction to take with the settings and I've enjoyed every exit I've made.
“The new Superpole is strange, and when the weather is like it was today, with rain coming on during the three Superpoles, it complicates things. We can have a plan but we cannot plan the weather! Now I'm looking forward to Phillip Island, and feel nearly ready to race. The Phillip Island tests, just a week before the race, will be useful too of course.”
Although he didn't make it to the shootout, Fabrizio was altogether more positive about the qualifying changes and is satisfied that it will serve to shake things up.
“The new-look Superpole seems great, it was just a shame that today's weather was as it was but this test of the new format was definitely useful. It's clear that the riders now have to work well with the team, it's more about strategy with this new Superpole but it's good that changes are made to the regulations.
“Overall this has been a strange weekend, I feel like I only found feeling with the bike this afternoon. Of course the weather hasn't helped us but I finally found a good tyre today and worked a lot on the race setting, running the tyres for a lot of laps and choosing not to take riskes just to record the fastest time. Now I am looking forward to Phillip Island, a track that I love and where the weather will surely be better!”