Suzuki Alstare Brux were frustrated with their day of two halves as they saw a promising performance in free practice turn into a disappointing outing during provisional qualification in Qatar.
The team, race winners with Fonsi Nieto in 2008, set the pace during the morning practice session in the hands of Max Neukirchner. With Yukio Kagayama also comfortably inside the top ten, it gave the team confidence heading into the first stage of qualification.
However, when both riders began to suffer from rear grip issues they couldn't manage anything better than 13th and 15th, Neukirchner leading Kagayama.
Although close competition ensures they are less than a second off the provisional front row, Neukirchner was frustrated to have tumbled down the timesheets. Even so, the German knows exactly what improvements need to be made ahead of Superpole.
“This afternoon, I had a big problem with lack of rear grip,” he said. “The front felt stable, but the back was not and I just couldn't push any harder. We had made some changes (in the bike's balance) from the morning and the track temperature was up a bit (but not enough to have any drastic effects), but the way the bike worked was very different.
“I think we went in the wrong direction in the afternoon, but the good news is that we know what we did and we can go back to the set-up that worked in the morning without a problem. It's disappointing to be 13th, but at least we know how to fix the problem and that's what we'll do tomorrow.”
Kagayama shared his team-mate's sentiments, the Japanese rider also confident that they will be prominent again when it matters.
“The morning was not so bad and although we didn't change much on the bike (just the ride height) the bike didn't work so well in the afternoon. I don't think the change in track temperature was a problem, but whatever the reason, I had much less rear grip in the afternoon.
“So we will look at the telemetry, analyse the data and see what we must do to make the bike better tomorrow morning. My general feeling is that we will improve quite a bit, but tomorrow we'll know for sure.”