Alitalia Aprilia's Max Biaggi took his first Superpole of the season for his home race at Monza, ending Carlos Checa's (Althea Racing Ducati) pole streak at three.Their qualifying efforts couldn't have been more different on the 3.59-mile circuit on the outskirts of Milan. While Biaggi was sailing to the top spot in Superpole 3 with a time of 1:41.745 mins., Checa was watching from the sidelines having been eliminated in Superpole 2. The end didn't come as a surprise for the championship leader. With Monza's long straights and emphasis on top speed, Checa knew going in that he was at a disadvantage on his Ducati 1098R. He wasn't the only one. Not a single Ducati made it to the eight-rider field in Superpole 3.The day had begun with provisional pole-sitter Leon Haslam (BMW Motorrad)  holding onto the top spot in Saturday's pre-Superpole qualifying session, , despite a technical problem on his S 1000 RR. Biaggi stayed second with Troy Corser jumping to third on his BMW. Joan Lascorz was fourth on the Kawasaki.Castrol Honda's Ruben Xaus, BMW Motorrad Italia Superbike Team's James Toseland, Roberto Rolfo and Pedercini Kawasaki's Mark Aitchison were among those eliminated from Superpole competition.In the final minute of Superpole 1, Haslam tried to stay on top, but came up .045 sec. short to Biaggi (1:42.137). Michel Fabrizio (Suzuki Alstare) went to third, Alitalia Aprilia's Leon Camier fourth, and Yamaha's Eugene Laverty fifth. Following were Sylvain Guintoli (Duc), Jonathan Rea (Hon), Corser, and Marco Melandri (Yam). The top 13 were on the same second, but not all advanced to Superpole 2. Gone were the two Kawasakis of Lascorz, 13th, and Tom Sykes, 14th, plus Jakub Smrz and Maxime Berger. Checa just made it in with the 12th fastest time in the 14-minute session.With a minute left in the 12-minute Superpole 2, Haslam and Checa were in danger of elimination, as was Guintoli, the only Ducati rider remaining in Superpole, other than Checa. There would be no last lap miracles. All 12 riders were on the same second, but Checa and Guintoli were 11th and 12th and out of the hunt for the pole, with only the top eight going to the ten-minute Superpole 3.Yamaha riders Melandri and Laverty finished one-two separated by .049 sec. Melandri ran three laps, Laverty two. Biaggi was third in front of Rea, Fabrizio and the BMWs of Haslam and Corser. Nori Haga was eighth on the PATA Racing Team Aprilia.Superpole 3 got underway at 3:40 p.m. local time with Biaggi going to the top on his first flying lap, Rea second, Melandri third, and Fabrizio fourth.Laverty moved to second with his first complete lap, only .074 sec. behind, Rea now third and Corser up to fourth.After two full laps Biaggi pitted and would only have time for one flying lap when he returned to the track.With less than three minutes remaining, Rea, Corser, Melandri and Fabrizio all pitted. They'd have to hurry to get in one final lap and most didn't try.With just over a minute to go Biaggi was touring before getting serious. At the first interval on his final lap he was .220 sec. ahead of his pole time, then .494 sec. at the second interval. The third was also faster and when the lap was over he was on top by .648 sec. with a lap of 1:41.745 mins., the only rider in the 1:41s.The next four had already pitted while Biaggi was increasing his gap. Laverty was second, Rea third, with Corser filling out the front row.Row two will be Melandri, Haslam, Fabrizio and Haga.Biaggi, who won both races here last year, heads into the fourth round of the championship looking to close his 43 point deficit to Checa.

Superpole:

1. Max Biaggi (Aprilia) 1:41.745

2. Eugene Laverty (Yamaha) 1:42.393

3. Jonathan Rea (Honda)1:42.614

4. Troy Corser (BMW) 1:42.688

5. Marco Melandri (Yamaha) 1:42.714

6. Leon Haslam (BMW) 1:42.723

7. Michel Fabrizio (Suzuki) 1:42.954

8. Nori Haga (Aprilia) 1:43.043

9. Ayrton Badovini (BMW) 1:42.866

10. Leon Camier (Aprilia) 1:42.995

11. Carlos Checa (Ducati) 1:43.116

 

 


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By Cycle News Staff

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