Spies Perfect in Superpole

Cycle News Staff | April 4, 2009

Yamaha’s Ben Spies continued his march through the World Superbike Championship by maintaining a perfect Superpole record with a record-breaking performance in the Superpole session on the Ricardo Tormo Circuit in Valencia, Spain.The Texan finished the final 12-minute Superpole session with a massive .685 of a second gap on second place after recording a best of 1:33.270 in the final minute and a half on his backup bike. To put it into perspective, the top 20 riders after Saturday’s earlier

final qualifying session were covered by .847 of a second.The lap time was a circuit best by more than half a second; the previous best of 1:33.805 was set last year by Max Neukirchner. The race record of 1:35.007 was set by Neil Hodgson in 2003.The Valencia performance continued to showcase Spies’ versatility. He’s now taken the pole on three distinctly different tracks; the stadium circuit in Valencia, the fast and flowing Losail Circuit in Doha, Qatar, and the seaside circuit of Phillip Island.”The first session was good for us,” Spies said. “We still have some things we’re working through but even now the race pace seems good and we seem fast and that’s what matters. Superpole was good, we went out and got through the first two sessions and was going well until the end of the second session when we had a problem with the bike and had to switch to the back-up bike. When I got out there I knew the set-up was good and actually think we’ve found something for the race tomorrow. Obviously we don’t get points for pole but it’s good to get three in a row. I guess in the end it’s about having a couple more feet on everyone else just for that start. ”Spies was followed by three Ducatis, DFX Corse’s Regis Laconi and Ducati Xerox teammates Nori Haga and Michel Fabrizio.Suzuki Alstare Brux teammates Yukio Kagayama and Max Neukirchner will start from row two. They’ll be joined by the Hannspree Ten Kate Hondas of Jonathan Rea and Carlos Checa.Stiggy Honda’s John Hopkins was one of several riders not to make it into the final Superpole round. In his first Superpole experience, Hopkins qualified for the second round and finished 16th. Aprilia’s Max Biaggi didn’t make it out of round one.

Superpole:1. Ben Spies (Yamaha) 1:33.2702. Regis Laconi (Ducati) 1:33.9663. Nori Haga (Ducati) 1:34.0824. Michel Fabrizio (Ducati) 1:34.2595. Yukio Kagayama (Suzuki) 1:34.7556. Max Neukirchner (Suzuki) 1:34.9037. Jonathan Rea (Honda) 1:35.0568. Carlos Checa (Honda) 1:35.346Others:16. John Hopkins (Honda)