BARKER: "YOU'RE STARTING TO SEE THE FINAL PECKING ORDER"

© Matt Knighton

SoftBank Team Japan took to the Great Sound this afternoon for day two of the final practice race week ahead of the America's Cup Qualifiers beginning May 26th.

Skipper and CEO Dean Barker:

"The racing today and yesterday has been really important because we've been able to check-in with a lot of the different elements of racing these boats that we're trying to improve - starting, reaching, general boating handling, speed, etc.

"We've gotten a good feel for the opposition, everyone has there final parts installed and are learning how to use them. They're all in that final fine tuning process ahead of starting racing next Friday and everyone is making gains around the course. You're starting to see that final pecking order though there's still a lot that can change before next week.

"I think we're right at the top with the leaders though it's very very close. It's going to come down to a genuine boat race.

"As far as the pecking order, I think Oracle have made a good little step as of late. Our reliability has been very good this week which has been encouraging. To start each race on time is a huge part of it while we're still seeing other teams struggling with reliability. Losing just one race is going to be pretty expensive. 

"The course has been great to get used to the past two days. With the boundaries being as tight as they are, you can't generate the kind of leverage you might like to do at times. As a result, you're always racing in close quarters so there's definitely a lot of boat management going on.

"Two surprises over the past two days? One has been how agressive the practice racing has seemed to become evidenced by a pretty decent collision between two of the boats. Two, I think the way the level has continued to rise. You expected a plateau but the game is on to one up each other right now.

"How much space is left to evolve? The minute you might think about tapping out you would get gobbled up. Sometimes they might be very small or incremental gains but it all counts in the end."