Qatar world Superbike preview

ImageBen Spies is on pole at the Qatar World Superbike round for 2009.


After dominating the two WSBK qualifying sessions, Ben Spies (Yamaha World Superbike) powered to the same result in Superpole with his second success in two races. The 24 year-old Texan lapped the 5.380 km Losail desert circuit in a time of 1 minute 57.280 seconds, almost eight-tenths of a second quicker than Troy Corser’s best mark from 2008.

The starting-grid was similar to the opening round in Australia, but this time Jakub Smrz on a customer Guandalini Ducati 1098R placed second, a fraction of a second behind Spies, and ahead of Max Biaggi (Aprilia Racing) in third. The front row of the grid was completed by Noriyuki Haga (Ducati Xerox), who managed to move up to a fourth place slot following two below-par qualifying sessions.

Ben Spies (Yamaha World Superbike):
"The most important thing is being on the front row with this many fast guys. I almost ruined my lap but we eventually got the job done. Race pace is looking promising, which is important but I feel sure it’s going to be a hard race tomorrow. You still have to search for the speed and find the limit in Superpole, I don’t know anything different, it’s the only one I’ve done but it’s working well for me so far."

Jakub Smrz (Guandalini Ducati):
"We have made a really good weekend, now we still have the race to do, but we have a good set-up and for us the times are very positive. I was also working well in Superpole because there wasn’t much traffic, I didn’t catch anyone and I was able to do my best." Max Biaggi (Aprilia Racing): "I’m very happy again to be fighting for the pole position, I think we did a very good job today. We tried to find the best set-up on both bikes, and I’m going to chose the one that feels the most comfortable. I have already made my tyre choice and feel quite comfortable so thanks again to my squad, they are great guys."

Max Biaggi:


Noriyuki Haga (Ducati Xerox):
"It was a much better Superpole for me than in Australia and I am very happy to be on the front row of the grid. We had a little problem today but managed to sort that and now I am sure that tomorrow we will go very well in the races."

With fifth place on the grid, Tom Sykes (Yamaha World Superbike) confirmed that the four-cylinder Japanese R1 machine is proving to be a very competitive machine indeed this year, and the British rider will start tomorrow’s two 18-lap races with Japan’s Shinya Nakano (Aprilia Racing), Spain’s Carlos Checa (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) and Shane Byrne (Sterilgarda Ducati) from the UK alongside. The new Superpole format again produced a few surprises. The first run saw the elimination of two of the stars of Phillip Island, Max Neukirchner (Suzuki Alstare) and Jonathan Rea (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda), who will now start from row 5; while neither Ruben Xaus and Troy Corser (BMW) nor Michel Fabrizio (Ducati Xerox) made the final cut after the second knock-out session.

Times: 1. Spies B. (USA) Yamaha YZF R1 1’57.280; 2. Smrz J. (CZE) Ducati 1098R 1’57.384; 3. Biaggi M. (ITA) Aprilia RSV4 1’57.694; 4. Haga N. (JPN) Ducati 1098R 1’57.850; 5. Sykes T. (GBR) Yamaha YZF R1 1’57.878; 6. Nakano S. (JPN) Aprilia RSV4 1’58.755; 7. Checa C. (ESP) Honda CBR1000RR 1’59.090; 8. Byrne S. (GBR) Ducati 1098R 2’00.021; … 9. Rolfo R. (ITA) Honda CBR1000RR 1’58.734; 10. Fabrizio M. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 1’58.919; 11. Laconi R. (FRA) Ducati 1098R 1’59.044; 12. Kiyonari R. (JPN) Honda CBR1000RR 1’59.055; 13. Parkes B. (AUS) Kawasaki ZX 10R 1’59.074; 14. Kagayama Y. (JPN) Suzuki GSX-R 1000 K9 1’59.134; 15. Xaus R. (ESP) BMW S1000 RR 1’59.435; 16. Corser T. (AUS) BMW S1000 RR 1’59.454; … 17. Rea J. (GBR) Honda CBR1000RR 1’59.713; 18. Haslam L. (GBR) Honda CBR1000RR 1’59.882; 19. Neukirchner M. (GER) Suzuki GSX-R 1000 K9 1’59.926; 20. Hill T. (GBR) Honda CBR1000RR 2’00.108

FIM Supersport World Championship

Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha World Supersport) was quickest again today in the second and final qualifying session for the World Supersport race, giving the Japanese manufacturer its first pole of the year and its second today at the Losail circuit. The 23 year-old British rider knocked one second off his Thursday mark to end up with a time of 2 minutes 01.586 seconds, almost four-tenths quicker than Fabien Foret’s best from last year.

The other riders on the front row are all on Honda CBR600RR machines, with Ireland’s Eugene Laverty (Parkalgar) ahead of the Hannspree Ten Kate Honda champion pair of Kenan Sofuoglu and Andrew Pitt, the Turkish rider crashing out in the final stages of the session while chasing the pole. Fabien Foret heads the next row of the grid in fifth place on the second factory Yamaha R6, ahead of Matthieu Lagrive (Hannspree Honda Althea) and Gianluca Nannelli (ParkinGO Triumph).

Times: 1. Crutchlow C. (GBR) Yamaha YZF R6 2’01.586; 2. Laverty E. (IRL) Honda CBR600RR 2’01.629; 3. Sofuoglu K. (TUR) Honda CBR600RR 2’01.810; 4. Pitt A. (AUS) Honda CBR600RR 2’02.266; 5. Foret F. (FRA) Yamaha YZF R6 2’02.282; 6. Lagrive M. (FRA) Honda CBR600RR 2’02.450; 7. Nannelli G. (ITA) Triumph Daytona 675 2’02.497; 8. Harms R. (DEN) Honda CBR600RR 2’02.592.

The Qatar race will be broadcast on Fox Sports 3 at 6.45pm today Saturday 14th (7.45 other Eastern States)

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