The following is from Ducati…After another challenging day on track at the International Circuit of Losail in Qatar, the Ducati Xerox rider Noriyuki Haga earned a well-deserved place on the front row of tomorrow’s grid, concluding a closely fought Superpole with the fourth fastest time of the day on board his factory Ducati 1198. Yamaha’s Ben Spies dominated today’s sessions to take the Superpole, closely followed by Smrz on Team Guandalini’s Ducati 1098 and by Biaggi (Aprilia) who has done well at this track in the past.Noriyuki’s Italian team-mate Michel Fabrizio will line up in tenth position on the grid after having made a small mistake during what needed to be his fastest lap in the second Superpole session.Both Ducati Xerox riders Noriyuki and Michel continued to struggle throughout today’s sessions with major problems due to lack of rear grip. Nevertheless, in the second qualifying session this morning, Michel was able to improve slightly on the time he set yesterday to qualify in seventh place for the afternoon’s Superpole. Team-mate Noriyuki fought a losing battle during the morning and concluded the qualifying sessions in fifteenth position, making up for this however in the Superpole that followed.Noriyuki Haga 1m57.8s
“I am very happy to be on the front row of the grid tomorrow, a big improvement on my grid position in Phillip Island! We have had some problems today and yesterday with the rear grip but we think that we have found a way forward for tomorrow’s races. Tomorrow will be tough, not just for me but for all of us, and so to be able start from the front row will of course be an advantage.”Michel Fabrizio 1m58.9s
“I unfortunately made a small error while making the fast lap in the second Superpole session. At the penultimate corner I was in the wrong gear, I should have been in second when I was instead in third and I know I lost a few tenths during that split as a result. Although I had time to make one further lap the tyre was already gone. I had at least hoped to get into the top eight but it was that mistake that cost me a place further forward on the grid. Anyway I will do my best tomorrow, as always, and hope that is enough.”The following is from BMW…Team BMW Motorrad Motorsport riders Ruben Xaus and Troy Corser were two of many riders who suffered in the new Superpole system and so will start tomorrow’s pair of 18-lap races from the fourth row of the grid. Once again Troy had performed superbly in regular qualifying and had finished 8th in the first session and tenth in the second. He then followed that up with the fourth fastest lap in Superpole 1, but that lap time was wiped away for the 16 riders who lined up for Superpole 2. He used the same type of qualifier for Superpole 2, but the tyre didn’t work as well, causing the front end of the bike to chatter. This problem was enough to prevent Troy from getting into Superpole 3 and a possible place on the second row of the grid. Ruben improved his lap times by over three seconds from first practice and was happy to qualify for Superpole 1. He managed to get into Superpole 2, but no further. As a result he will line up on the fourth row of the grid with Troy alongside. American Ben Spies (Yamaha) won Superpole, with Jakob Smrz (Ducati) second, Max Biaggi (Aprilia) third and series leader Noriyuki Haga (Ducati) fourth.Ruben – 15th, 1:59.435
Of course, it is disappointing to be on the fourth row of the grid, but I’m happy because I have improved my lap times so much since my first session here. It’s not so easy developing a bike during the race weekend, but it’s just something that we have to get used to doing and trying to do it as well as we can. The more we push the bike towards its limit, the more we find out things and the more we have to work out how to improve those things.In the afternoon, I had a lot chatter and couldn’t push any harder, but I know that my lap time on race tyres is quite good. It’s a shame that our first two races are so far from our workshops because I’m sure we could have solved some of the problems more quickly if we’d been able to do the work. But we cannot stop time, we just have to keep working hard. I know I am in the best team in the paddock and that gives me a lot of power. I want to be up the front – sooner rather than later – and I know it’s going to take some time, but I am confident that we are going to get there, before too long.Troy – 16th, 1:59.954
I’m not a fan of this new Superpole system and I think it must be quite hard for the fans to follow and understand. My lap in Superpole 1 would’ve put me on row three for sure and maybe row two, if luck had gone our way. In Superpole 1, I used a qualifying tyre for the first time this year and did a 1:58.950 quite easily. But for Superpole 2, that time gets wiped clean and you start all over again. We used the same tyre on the same bike for Superpole 2, but suddenly the bike was chattering and that made it impossible to go any quicker. It’s a bit frustrating when that happens and now I know I have got a very hard job ahead. My bike is not so fast at the top end as most of my rivals, so it means that I am going to have to work harder in the turns trying to stay with them. This track has a long front straight and then a series of corners, so it is very easy to get held up and then not be able catch the front group. My plan is to get two good starts and see what happens in the race.The following is from Suzuki…Team Suzuki Alstare Brux riders Yukio Kagayama and Max Neukirchner both had problems in the new Superpole qualifying system and and will have to start from the fourth and fifth rows of the grid respectively. Neither Yukio nor Max had been able to find good set-ups for their bikes in practice and regular qualifying and struggled to get into Superpole 1. Max didn’t make it into Superpole 2, but Yukio managed it by setting the eighth quickest time in the session. But Superpole 2 was as far as he got as his lap of 1:59.134 was only the 14th fastest time of the session. American Ben Spies (Yamaha) won Superpole, with Jakob Smrz (Ducati) second, Max Biaggi (Aprilia) third and series leader Noriyuki Haga (Ducati) fourth.Yukio – 14th, 1:59.134
The situation is not so nice, having to start from the fourth row of the grid, but I am a racer and I will give my 100% – as usual. We changed many things on the bike from yesterday, but I don’t think there was much improvement, so we will have to make some more changes in the warm-up tomorrow. Today, I wanted the bike to steer better in the corners, but what we tried did not help much. Here in Qatar, the bike is completely different on race tyres compared to qualifying tyres and you can lap much faster on a qualifier, also because the lap is so long. My Superpole lap does not reflect my potential, so I am hoping the adjustments we make in the warm-up tomorrow will allow me to make a good fight in the races.Max – 19th, 1:59.926
It has been a hard day, with many problems in different areas. Also I had a big crash and that didn’t help. I was OK, but my bike wasn’t and I am sorry because my mechanics had to work so hard and build another bike. I had to use my number two bike in Superpole, because my other bike wasn’t finished, and it didn’t work the same way. We lost some time making some adjustments and by the time we put on the qualifying tyre the flag had come out and it was too late. I am disappointed how the day went, but I am hoping that tomorrow will be much better.The following is from InFront Sports…Spies (Yamaha) notches up second Superpole win in two racesAfter 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.”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.