Max Biaggi says seventh position was the best he could manage in qualifying for the sixth round of the World Superbike Championship at Kyalami, the title contender suggesting the circuit does not play to the Aprilia's strengths.
Following his double victory at Monza last weekend, Biaggi is carrying momentum to Kyalami, but while he suggested he would be a pole position contender during the knockout phases, the Italian couldn't replicate his form in SP3.
As such, he will start in seventh position, s
ignificantly two spots behind title rival Leon Haslam, whom he needs to out-score by just three points this weekend to take the lead of the standings.
"The second row is where, quite honestly, we could have expected to be. Sure, you take the track to do the maximum, but today this is our situation. One thing for certain is that we don't have any advantages on this track – quite the opposite!
“This is why starting from the second row isn't so bad. For the race, we'll have to see – it certainly won't be easy. Starting well will be essential, more than in other situations. We still have a few choices to make and one of these has to do with the tyres.
“The weather conditions will play a fundamental part in that decision: here at Kyalami the temperature influences tyre performance quite a bit and this is a track where grip can vary a lot. We'll have to get everything sorted and then I'll race my race, looking for the best possible result.”
Biaggi's Aprilia team-mate Leon Camier will start directly alongside him in eighth position after showing linear progress through the sessions to sneak into the shootout.
"We found a good feeling with the soft tyre, decisively better compared to the race pace. I'm happy to have made it into the top eight - I'm not always able to – especially since I've been struggling to find the right pace since the weekend began. My last lap was good and I could have gained a few places, but I made a mistake on the last little turn.
“For the race we will still have the difficulty of the really disconnected asphalt, so I hope I can get off to a good start and then give it my all, but I know already that I'll have to fight. The warm-up tomorrow morning may help us, but I won't delude myself.”