Five riders were virtually deadlocked at the top of the timesheets at the end of regular qualifying today in Portugal with two of them ending the session tied at the top with identical times. Those two were Jakub Smrz and Max Biaggi, with Smrz getting credit for earning provisional pole because he set the fastest lap first.That means the Czech rider and his Ducati will head to the Superpole competition on the Portimao circuit with provisional pole over Aprilia's Biaggi with the two of them turning in identical 1:43.003 laps.Closeness is the theme heading into Superpole with just .050 of a second separating Smrz from fifth-placed Jonathan Rea, the Brit riding his Hannspree Ten Kate Honda to a 1:43.053. Close? There's just .488 of a second between Smrz and 10th-placed Troy Corser on the factory BMW and you have to go all the way back to 15th-placed Leon Camier before you find a full second between them.Behind the Smrz/Biaggi tie came Ducati Xerox's Michel Fabrizio - .007 of a second behind. Leon Haslam, the Brit who led yesterday's qualifying, ended up forth - again just a tick behind and a tick ahead of Rea.Carlos Checa rode his Ducati to sixth, barely ahead of the factory Yamaha of James Toseland with Ducati Xerox's Noriyuki Haga eighth, Kawasaki's Tom Sykes ninth and Corser 10th.Roger Lee Hayden ended the session in 24th and will not make it to Superpole. He lapped at 1:45.799 - .858 of a second quicker than he went yesterday.

Qualifying

1.                  Jakub Smrz (Ducati) 1:43.003

2. Max Biaggi (Aprilia) 1:43.003

3. Michel Fabrizio (Ducati) 1:43.010

4. Leon Haslam (Suzuki) 1:43.037

5. Jonathan Rea (Honda) 1:43.053

6. Carlos Checa (Ducati) 1:43.115

7. James Toseland (Yamaha) 1:43.320

8. Noriyuki Haga (Ducati) 1:43.418

9. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) 1:43.485

10. Troy Corser (BMW) 1:43.49124. Roger Lee Hayden (Kawasaki) 1:45.799

World Superbike Headlines

By Cycle News Staff

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