Rea Fastest, Spies Third

Cycle News Staff | October 23, 2009

Ben Spies reversed the order from this morning’s opening practice session to gain the upper hand in round two of his battle with Noriyuki Haga today at the Portimao Circuit in Portugal, but again it wasn’t either of the pair at the top as qualifying got underway.This time it was Hannspree Ten Kate Honda’s Jonathan Rea who jumped to the top of the time sheets with the rider from Northern Ireland moving past this morning’s fast guy Jakub Smrz in the final stages of the session. Rea ended up with a best of 1:43.786, which put him just .08 of a second clear of Smrz.Then came Spies, the Texan putting in a best of 1:43.870 – .4 of a second faster than his championship rival Haga, who ended up ninth fastest on the factory Ducati.Rea’s teammate Carlos Checa put his Honda CBR1000RR in the final spot on the provisional front row.Then came Sterilgarda’s Shane Byrne and Ducati DFX’s Fonsi Nieto with both of the privateer Ducati’s quicker than the factory bikes ridden to seventh and ninth by Michael Fabrizio and Haga.Aprilia’s Max Biaggi ended up eighth with Stiggy Honda’s Leon Haslam the other slice of bread in the Haga sandwich in 10th place provisionally. The top 11 riders were all within a second of Rea’s best lap, with Alstare Suzuki’s Yukio Kagayama taking the 11th spot with his 1:44.674.

Friday Qualifying

1.                  Jonathan Rea (Honda) 1:43.786

2.                  Jakub Smrz (Ducati) 1:43.866

3.                  Ben Spies (Yamaha) 1:43.870

4.                  Carlos Checa (Honda) 1:43.945

5.                  Shane Byrne (Ducati) 1:43.947

6.                  Fonsi Nieto (Ducati) 1:44.005

7.                  Michel Fabrizio (Ducati) 1:44.154

8.                  Max Biaggi (Aprilia) 1:44.210

9.                  Noriyuki Haga (Ducati) 1:44.254

10.                  Leon Haslam (Honda) 1:44.324