Rain showers hit the Portimao circuit in Portugal today for the Superpole session, turning it into a 45-minute session with all of the top men testing their rain-riding skills on the brand-new circuit. When all was said and done, it was Ducati Xerox’s Troy Bayliss capturing pole position, the Australian set to end his racing career tomorrow in the two World Superbike races.
Bayliss was quick from the outset, leading the rest of the field by over two seconds early on. He was impressive in his first laps and no one could come close to matching the 1:58.548. In fact, he was the only rider to crack the two-minute barrier en route to his 26th career pole position.
HM Plant’s Cal Crutchlow who captured second on the grid, the British Superbike regular the best of a solid corp of Brits who’d made the trip south for the series finale. Crutchlow ended up 2.4 seconds off Bayliss with his 2:01.023.
Starting third on the front row for tomorrow’s races will be Hannspree Ten Kate Honda’s Jonathan Rea put his CBR1000RR third on the front row. Fourth fell to Max Biaggi in his final qualifying session on the Ducati, the Italian set to switch to the factory Aprilia next year.
Row two will be headed by Bayliss’s teammate Michel Fabrizio. He will be joined there by British Wild Card Leon Haslam, Yamaha’s Troy Corser and Ruben Xaus. Xaus was the first man to go out in the wet conditions and he became the first man to crash as well, the Spaniard hitting the deck on his fourth lap. He would be joined in the crash list by Alstare Suzuki’s Max Neukirchner and Yukio Kagayama.
1. Troy Bayliss (Ducati) 1:58.548
2. Cal Crutchlow (Honda) 2:01.023
3. Jonathan Rea (Honda) 2:01.027
4. Max Biaggi (Ducati) 2:02.107
5. Michel Fabrizio (Ducati) 2:02.779
6. Leon Haslam (Honda) 2:02.861
7. Troy Corser (Yamaha) 2:03.014
8. Ruben Xaus (Ducati) 2:03.023