Castrol Honda’s Jonathan Rea played his cards perfectly in today’s World Superbike Superpole sessions at the Portimao Circuit in Portugal, the Northern Irelander hanging around in fourth in both Superpole 1 and Superpole 2 before going straight to the top in Superpole 3 with a Superbike track record.
Rea will thus start tomorrow’s final two races of the season from pole position for the second time this season (and second in a row) and third time in his career after riding his CBR1000RR to a 1:41.712 to best newly crowned World Champion Carlos Checa by .239 of a second. Checa is celebrating his 39th birthday today.
Third went to Yamaha’s Eugene Laverty with a 1:42.173. Laverty had led Superpole 2 with his 1:42.097, but failed to go quicker in the final segment.His teammate Marco Melandri will fill the front row for tomorrow’s races – his last with Yamaha as he heads to BMW for 2012 – the Italian lapping at 1:42.259. Melandri led Superpole 1, dropped to eighth in Superpole 2, then made it back to the front row at the end.The two Effenbert-Liberty Racing Ducatis of Sylvain Guintoli and Jakub Smrz will lead the second row, the two teammates separated by just .083 of a second in fifth and sixth. Smrz was the last rider on the same second as Rea.Kawasaki’s Joan Lascorz and Noriyuki Haga were the final two riders in Superpole 3 and they will round out the second row for the two races.Final Qualifying
1. Jonathan Rea (Honda) 1:41.712
2. Carlos Checa (Ducati) 1:41.951
3. Eugene Laverty (Yamaha) 1:42.173
4. Marco Melandri (Yamaha) 1:42.259
5. Sylvain Guintoli (Ducati) 1:42.627
6. Jakub Smrz (Ducati) 1:42.710
7. Joan Lascorz (Kawasaki) 1:43.282
8. Noriyuki Haga (Aprilia) 1:43.674
9. Ayrton Badovini (BMW) 1:42.645
10. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) 1:42.740