LUCA CADALORA stormed to a 500cc lap record at Suzuka yesterday, taking top spot over Michael Doohan and Kevin Schwantz, his rivals in the first qualifying practice for the Japanese Grand Prix.
The Yamaha rider, second and fourth in the first two rounds in Australia and Mayalsia, clocked 2min 08.336sec on the 3.64-mile circuit. 'It's a big improvement for me because I was so slow here last year. I followed Kevin for one lap then he let me through and I went for a good lap,' the Italian said.
Doohan, the winner in Malaysia a fortnight ago, was second fastest on a Honda, clocking 2:08.995 and also breaking the previous best of 2:09.239 set by Schwantz a year ago. The 28-year-old Australian used the same equipment here, although Honda have produced new suspension parts to solve problems which arose in the opening races.
'The changes are just detailed stuff to the suspension internals to make it work a little more progressively. But they feel too unfamiliar to me at the moment,' Doohan, the winner here in 1992, said.
Schwantz, three times a winner at Suzuka and the reigning world champion, managed third best with a time of 2:09.335. The Texan, fourth and sixth in the first two races of the season, said things were working out better.
'But our bike is always good here because you need an all-round bike rather than one that's really good in some areas,' Schwantz said. 'We've tested at Suzuki's test track before coming and I now have a '94 bike.'
The resurfaced course also produced another lap record in the 250cc class when the Italian Massimiliano Biaggi returned a time of 2:10.876, breaking the previous record of 2:11.089 set by Tetsuya Harada, the Japanese world champion.
'I'm very happy because I feel really at home on this track. I feel on top form and I'm having a lot of fun here. We can go faster, too,' Biaggi, who is aiming for a third consecutive victory this season, said.Reuse content