Spies Does It Again!

Cycle News Staff | March 13, 2009

Two World Superbike rounds. Two pole positions for Ben Spies. The Texan did it again today at the Losail Circuit in Qatar, the Yamaha man breaking Troy Corser’s lap record by some eight tenths of a second en route to his second straight pole position – on a racetrack he’d never seen until yesterday.Spies lapped at 1:57.280 during the final Superpole session to best Guandalini Ducati’s Jakub Smrz by .104 of a second, the Czech earning his first front-row start of the season. Aprilia’s Max Biaggi put the RSV4 on the front row for a second successive race as he held on to finish third after ending the second qualifying session as the quickest of the superbike men.The front row will be filled by Xerox Ducati’s Noriyuki Haga, some .6 of a second off Spies’ best lap. Haga improved significantly as he had barely made the cut to Superpole after the two timed sessions.The second row will be led by Spies’ teammate Tom Sykes in his best qualifying effort to date. Sykes leads Aprilia’s Shinya Nakano, Hannspree Ten Kate Honda’s Carlos Checa and Ducati-mounted Shane Byrne.Rather surprisingly, neither Hannspree Ten Kate Honda’s Jonathan Rea or Alstare Suzuki’s Max Neukirchner made it out of Superpole 1, with those two being joined by Phillip Island third-place finisher Leon Haslam in the four who didn’t make the cut to Superpole 2. Rea had gone into Superpole with the second fastest time from regular qualfying.Both of the BMWs made it through the first cut, but both failed to go on from there, with Ruben Xaus and Troy Corser ending up 15th and 16th, respectively.Spies cut 1.6 seconds off his best lap time, which had come in Thursday’s timed session, in his superb Superpole lap.”The qualifying tire had so much grip it surprised me and I missed a shift coming out of a turn,” Spies said in a release issued by his publicist. “I probably lost a couple of tenths right there. Luckily the mistake didn’t cost me. That was on our first set of qualifiers [tires]. I came in we put on our last set of Qs. I came around to see if we were still P1 [top qualifier]. If we were I was just going to bring it in the garage and if not we were going to step it up a bit. Fortunately our time was good enough to win the pole today.”Superpole

1.                  Ben Spies (Yamaha) 1:57.280

2.                  Jakub Smrz (Ducati) 1:57.384

3.                  Max Biaggi (Aprilia) 1:57.694

4.                  Noriyuki Haga (Ducati) 1:57.850

5.                  Tom Sykes (Yamaha) 1:57.878

6.                  Shinya Nakano (Aprilia) 1:58.755

7.                  Carlos Checa (Honda) 1:59.090

8.                  Shane Byrne (Ducati) 2:00.021

9.                  Robby Rolfo (Honda) 1:58.734

10.                  Michel Fabrizio (Ducati) 1:58.919

11.                  Regis Laconi (Ducati) 1:59.044

12.                  Riyuchi Kiyonari (Honda) 1:59.055

13.                  Broc Parkes (Kawasaki) 1:59.074

14.                  Yukio Kagayama (Suzuki) 1:59.134

15.                  Ruben Xaus (BMW) 1:59.435

16.                  Troy Corser (BMW) 1:59.454

17.                  Jonathan Rea (Honda) 1:59.713

18.                  Leon Haslam (Honda) 1:59.882

19.                  Max Neukirchner (Suzuki) 1:59.926

20.                  Tommy Hill (Honda) 2:00.108