Yamaha's Ben Spies and Stiggy Honda's John Hopkins were separated by 19 positions, but less than a second in a tightly packed final qualifying session for the third round of the World Superbike Championship in Valencia, Spain.Spies improved his Friday position by one to take the top spot in advance of Saturday afternoon's Superpole session. The Texan lapped the Ricardo Tormo Circuit in a time of 1:34.709 to edge out two very close riders. DFX Corse's Regis Laconi (Duc) was a scant .005 secs. behind Spies, with Aprilia's Max Biaggi only .071 back. So it went throughout the top 20.

The next three, Ducati Xerox's Michel Fabrizio, Suzuki Alstare Brux's Yukio Kagayama, and BMW's Troy Corser, were covered by .034 secs.And the following four riders, Haga, Kiyonari, Neukirchner, and Parkes, were within .060 of each other.Prior to his first ever Superpole experience, Hopkins finished 20th , but only 847 secs. behind Spies.

Saturday Qualifying:1. Ben Spies (Yamaha) 1:34.7092. Regis Laconi (Ducati) 1:34.7143. Max Biaggi (Aprilia) 1:34.7754. Michel Fabrizio (Ducati)1:34.8175. Yukio Kagayama (Suzuki) 1:34.8396. Troy Corser (BMW) 1:34.8517. Nori Haga (Ducati) 1:34.9088. Ryuichi Kiyonari (Honda) 1:34.9399. Max Neukirchner (Suzuki) 1:34.95510. Broc Parkes (Kawasaki) 1:34.96811. Brendan Roberts (Ducati) 1:34.99712. Jakub Smrz (Ducati) 1:35.05113. Jonathan Rea (Honda) 1:35.11714. Carlos Checa (Honda) 1:35.13915. Shane Byrne (Ducati)1:35.23616. Tom Sykes (Yamaha) 1:35.27017. Ruben Xaus (BMW) 1:35.41618. Shinya Nakano (Aprilia) 1:35.41619. Leon Haslam (Honda) 1:35.43720. John Hopkins (Honda) 1:35.556

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By Cycle News Staff

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