Spies’ Superpole Streak Ends at Seven

Henny Ray Abrams | June 20, 2009

Ben Spies’ perfect Superpole season came to a surprising end when Guandalini Racing’s Jakub Smrz (Duc) took his and the team’s first ever pole position for tomorrow’s World Superbike double-header at the Misano World Circuit near the Italian Adriatic Sea.Spies had come to Italy riding a record seven in a row, which was also the most in a row by a rookie and at the start of the season. Because this is the eighth of 14 races, Spies won’t be able to beat his own record, though he can add to the total, just not today.Spies was fourth in Superpole 1 and a shadow second in Superpole 2 before moving into the final eight-rider showdown in Superpole three. Spies and fast qualifier Michel Fabrizio (Ducati Xerox) traded times early in the session before Smrz jumped to the top with about five minutes to go  in the 12-minute session. Spies didn’t come in to change tires in those final minutes and had to settle for third, behind Hannspree Ten Kate Honda’s Jonathan Rea.”It was a good session for us today; we just weren’t fast enough at the end,” Spies said. “I never managed to put a perfect lap in, but even if I had I think it would have been right there with (Jakub) Smrz, so it’s not like we were going to blow anything out of the water.”Our race pace is good and I’m really happy with that. You can’t win them all. I’m really happy to be on the front row. We’re in a good position for turn one, so I’m going to try and get a good start and have a great race.”Smrz’s lap of 1:35.435 mins. was made more surprising by his 13th fastest qualifying effort. Rea finished second in Superpole at 1:35.609 mins. and Spies was third at 1:35.811 mins. Fabrizio fills out the front row with a lap of 1:35.811 mins.”It’s a shame that I made an error in the first split, losing a few tenths, because otherwise it would have been a much better time, putting me in second or third I think,” Fabrizio said. “Anyway I must say well done to Smrz who put together an extremely fast lap and I am very happy to have made it on to the front row.”I have a feeling that tomorrow I’ll be fighting against Ben (Spies), because today I’ve seen that we have more or less the same pace.”Sterilgarda Ducati’s Shane Byrne is on the row two pole in front of Ducati Xerox’s Nori Haga, and Hannspree Ten Kate Honda’s Carlos Checa and Ryuichi Kiyonari.Aprilia’s Max Biaggi, the fastest rider not to make it through to Superpole 3, is on the pole for row three. Next to him are Stiggy Racing Honda’s Leon Haslam, Suzuki Alstare Brux’s Fonsi Nieto, in place of the injured Max Neukirchner, and Aprilia’s Shinya Nakano.Kawasaki’s Jamie Hacking, in his second race in place of the injured Makoto Tamada, will start Sunday’s races from the end of the fifth row after qualifying 20th on Friday. Wet weather prevented Hacking from improving his time in this morning’s final qualifying session. Stiggy Racing Honda’s John Hopkins faces a more daunting task; in his return from serious injuries suffered in Assen, Hopkins will start from the seventh row.


1. Jakub Smrz (Ducati) 1:35.435

2. Jonathan Rea (Honda) 1:35.609

3. Ben Spies (Yamaha) 1:35.631

4. Michel Fabrizio (Ducati) 1:35.811

5. Shane Byrne (Ducati) 1:36.224

6. Nori Haga (Ducati) 1:36.277

7. Carlos Checa (Honda) 1:36.537

8. Ryuichi Kiyonari (Honda) 1:36.884

9. Max Biaggi (Aprilia) 1:36.439

10. Leon Haslam (Honda) 1:36.510


20. Jamie Hacking (Kawasaki) 1:38.558

26. John Hopkins (Honda) 1:38.856

Henny Ray Abrams | Contributing Editor

Abrams is the longest-serving contributor at Cycle News. Over the course of his 35-some years of writing and shooting photos, he’s covered events from MotoGP to the Motocross World Championship - and everything in between.