Marco Melandri earned the first pole position of his World Superbike career today at Motorland Aragon in Spain, the factory Yamaha and series rookie stealing Superpole with a blazing lap of 1:57.634. The pole is also the first of the year for Yamaha.Melandri’s best was .156 of a second better than Aprilia’s defending World Champion Max Biaggi with the second Aprilia, ridden by Brit Leon Camier, ending up third on the front row for tomorrow’s two World Superbike races.Carlos Checa, who has earned pole in four of the six races coming into Aragon, slipped to fourth today, the Althea Racing Ducati rider .838 of a second off Melandri’s best in the session that truly counted. Checa, however, will start from the front row as he tries to win his ninth and 10th races of the season tomorrow.
Row two will be led by Kawasaki’s Tom Sykes, the Kawasaki man continuing to improve, though he was just over a second slower than Melandri. Sykes will be joined on the second row by Yamaha’s Eugene Laverty, fellow Kawasaki man Joan Lascorz and the privateer BMW of Ayrton Badovini.Noriyuki Haga missed out on advancing to the third Superpole session and he will lead row three from Team Effenbert-Liberty’s Sylvain Guintoli, the factory Alstare Suzuki of Michel Fabrizio and Team Pedercini Kawasaki’s Mark Aitchison.The factory BMWs continued their woes in Spain with Leon Haslam ending up 14th with his teammate Troy Corser 16th. Castrol Honda’s lone starter in the race, Ruben Xaus, is even worse off and he will start both races from 17th on the grid.
1. Marco Melandri (Yamaha) 1:57.634
2. Max Biaggi (Aprilia) 1:57.790
3. Leon Camier (Aprilia) 1:58.279
4. Carlos Checa (Ducati) 1:58.472
5. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) 1:58.641
6. Eugene Laverty (Yamaha) 1:58.756
7. Joan Lascorz (Kawasaki) 1:59.194
8. Ayrton Badovini (BMW) 1:59.591
9. Noriyuki Haga (Aprilia) 1:58.566
10. Sylvain Guintoli (Ducati) 1:58.640