That Man Spies – Again!

Paul Carruthers | May 16, 2009

You can’t get any closer to pole position than what Michel Fabrizio did today at the Kyalami circuit in South Africa. After leading every session going into the final two runs at Superpole, the Ducati Xerox rider was the man to beat. But along came Ben Spies.Spies stepped to the plate in Superpole 2 to lap at a best of 1:37.423, narrowly bettering Fabrizio. Then, in the final Superpole 3, Spies notched it up again, lapping at 1:37.366 before throwing down a 1:37.288. Fabrizio, in search of his first pole position of the season had one more go, but he came up short – actually .001 of a second short – and Spies and his factory Yamaha R1 had notched his sixth pole position of the season, keeping his perfect six for six streak alive and equalling a mark set by fellow Texan Doug Polen.And Spies set a mark of his own, becoming the first rider to earn six poles in a row to start a season – and this is his rookie season, let’s not forget.Superpole 1 started with a bang as the first sub 1:38 lap was recorded by Hannspree Ten Kate Honda’s Jonathan Rea, the Brit turning in a 1:37.859. That was followed by Spies’ 1:37.809. The four missing the cut to move forwared in Superpole were Broc Parkes, Luca Scassa, David Salom and Tommy Hill. The last survivor was Gregorio Lavilla, who moved forward to Superpole 2.Hannspree Ten Kate Honda’s Carlos Checa set the pace in Superpole 2 with a 1:37.650, but it lasted only a few seconds as Spies upped the ante with a 1:37.423. Leon Haslam popped in a sub-1:38, as did Jakub Smrz, Spies’ teammate Tom Sykes and Ducati Xerox’s Noriyuki Haga and the final eight to make the cut were Fabrizio, Rea, Sykes, Spies, Checa, Smrz, Haga and Aprilia’s Max Biaggi.Spies wasted little time in setting a best of 1:37.366 in the final third of Superpole, and improved it straight away with a 1:37.288 to earn pole number six in the six-race-old season.Behind Spies came Fabrizio, having to be content to have beaten out Biaggi for second, the two Italians set to share the front row for tomorrow’s two races with Spies and fourth-fastest Haga. Haga ended up just .256 off Spies’s best with the top eight from Superpole 3 being covered by less than a second.Row two will be lead by Rea, the Brit holding back Smrz, Checa and Sykes in Superpole 3.Qualifying

1.                  Ben Spies (Yamaha) 1:37.288

2.                  Michel Fabrizio (Ducati) 1:37.289

3.                  Max Biaggi (Aprilia) 1:37.466

4.                  Noriyuki Haga (Ducati) 1:37.544

5.                  Jonathan Rea (Honda) 1:37.634

6.                  Jakub Smrz (Ducati) 1:37.677

7.                  Carlos Checa (Honda) 1:37.940

8.                  Tom Sykes (Yamaha) 1:37.241

9.                  Shinya Nakano (Aprilia) 1:37.935

10.                  Leon Haslam (Honda) 1:37.98

Paul Carruthers | Editor

Paul Carruthers took over as the editor of Cycle News in 1993 after serving as associate editor since starting his career at the publication in 1985. Carruthers has covered every facet of the sport in his near-28-year tenure at America's Daily Motorcycle News Source.