TOOELE, UTAH, MAY 27 - Liberty Racing - Team Effenbert's Jakub Smrz (Ducati) heads into Superpole with the fastest time after topping the World Superbike field in final qualifying on an overcast bright morning at Miller Motorsports Park.
Smrz, who'd come into final qualifying holding the provisional pole, lapped the 3.06-mile road course in 1:48.517 mins. with that lap coming near the end of the 45-minute session. The lap was .272 secs. faster than the best of Althea Racing Ducati's Carlos Checa, whose record of success and frustration is well documented at MMP.
The times behind Checa were closer than the gap ahead, with BMW Motorrad's Marco Melandri third fastest (1:48.963 mins.) and Sylvain Guintoli fourth on the Team Effenbert - Liberty Racing Ducati.
Eugene Laverty was fifth fastest on the Aprilia RSV4 Factory and just in front of Jonathan Rea, again the first of the Japanese machines on the Honda CBR1000RR.
Seventh place was something of a surprise. FIXI Crescent Suzuki's John Hopkins improved ten places from Saturday qualifying to finish seventh. Hopkins had missed the previous round at Donington after breaking his foot in the wet first race at Monza.
Aprilia's Max Biaggi was .323 sec. behind Hopkins and narrowly in front of BMW Motorrad's Leon Haslam. Haslam had only .002 sec. on Kawasaki's Tom Sykes.
Superpole takes place later this afternoon beginning at 3:00 p.m. MDT.
World Superbike Qualifying:
1. Jakub Smrz (Ducati) 1:48.517
2. Carlos Checa (Ducati) 1:48.789
3. Marco Melandri (BMW) 1:48.963
4. Sylvain Guintoli (Ducati) 1:49.079
5. Eugene Laverty (Aprilia) 1:49.175
6. Jonathan Rea (Honda) 1:49.243
7. John Hopkins (Suzuki) 1:49.531
8. Max Biaggi (Aprilia) 1:49.584
9. Leon Haslam (BMW) 1:49.634
10. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) 1:49.636