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Ben Spies (Yamaha World Superbike) notched up his fourth successive Superpole crown in a row at the Assen TT Circuit today, a record for a start of the season run, and just two poles away from Doug Polen’s all-time record of six during the 1991 season. The Texan once again made the session his own, powering to a time of 1 minute 37.626 seconds and pulverizing the previous record held by Bayliss in 1’38.355. The Yamaha man was pushed hard all the way however as he strove to improve on the 1’38.765 time of Jakub Smrz (Guandalini Ducati), who will start alongside. The front row also sees Britain’s Leon Haslam (Stiggy Racing) in third place, once again the top Honda runner, and championship leader Noriyuki Haga (Ducati Xerox) in fourth.
Ben Spies Speaks…
"It went good. Row 1 is good for us but I wish they gave points for this, it’s a couple more feet ahead on the starting line and you have an advantage. I’m really happy with the bike on race tyres, obviously the times are a little slower but the balance for me is better. The bike’s working good, the team’s making headway and it’s getting better every session so I think it’s going to be a good battle tomorrow. Assen is a great track and has got a lot of history, so I’m having fun."
Jakub Smrz Speaks…
"We did a really good Superpole and the team did a great job. My bike is perfect, now we have to concentrate on the races tomorrow, because the last two weekends were not really lucky for me. We worked well on the race set-up, which seems to be OK. Now I just have to make a good start and follow the leaders or stay up at the front."
Leon Haslam Speaks…
"It’s fantastic and a big credit to the team. The circuit for me has got a lot of history so to get a front row start I’m over the moon! Hopefully we can convert it into two podiums. John unfortunately will miss everything this weekend but the team has worked hard and I feel we’ve got a really good race set-up for tomorrow, hopefully we can give the British fans something to look at!"
Fifth position on row 2 went to Michel Fabrizio (Ducati Xerox), ahead of Max Neukirchner (Suzuki Alstare), the German looking quick on race pace, with Carlos Checa (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) seventh, while Tom Sykes (Yamaha World Superbike) had a positive run for eighth after his two crashes today. Disappointment for Max Biaggi (Aprilia Racing), who will start from the third row, together with Regis Laconi (Ducati), who expected a better position after lapping on top form in qualifying, while Troy Corser lines his BMW Motorrad machine up on the fourth row.
Times: 1. Spies B. (USA) Yamaha YZF R1 1’37.626; 2. Smrz J. (CZE) Ducati 1098R 1’37.765; 3. Haslam L. (GBR) Honda CBR1000RR 1’38.072; 4. Haga N. (JPN) Ducati 1098R 1’38.202; 5. Fabrizio M. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 1’38.215; 6. Neukirchner M. (GER) Suzuki GSX-R 1000 K9 1’38.353; 7. Checa C. (ESP) Honda CBR1000RR 1’38.640; 8. Sykes T. (GBR) Yamaha YZF R1 1’38.790; 9. Kagayama Y. (JPN) Suzuki GSX-R 1000 K9 1’38.288; 10. Biaggi M. (ITA) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1’38.441; 11. Rea J. (GBR) Honda CBR1000RR 1’38.510; 12. Laconi R. (FRA) Ducati 1098R 1’38.521; 13. Muggeridge K. (AUS) Suzuki GSX-R 1000 K9 1’38.802; 14. Byrne S. (GBR) Ducati 1098R 1’38.811; 15. Corser T. (AUS) BMW S1000 RR 1’38.906; 16. Kiyonari R. (JPN)Honda CBR1000RR 1’39.079
Man of the moment Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha World Supersport) grabbed his third pole position in three races with a superb time of 1 minute 40.313 seconds, which he set right at the end of the session and knocking half a second off the previous mark. The gap between Crutchlow and his closest rivals was considerable, with Joan Lascorz (Kawasaki Motocard.com) half a second down, and championship co-leader Kenan Sofuoglu (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) six-tenths behind. Another Honda, the Parkalgar version of round 2 winner Eugene Laverty, completed the front row. Fabien Foret (Yamaha World Supersport) took the fifth slot ahead of Australian Garry McCoy (Triumph Be1 Racing) and Michele Pirro (Yamaha Lorenzini), who also crashed. No luck once again in qualifying for Andrew Pitt (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda), who had to settle for tenth place.
Times: 1. Crutchlow C. (GBR) Yamaha YZF R6 1’40.313 ; 2. Lascorz J. (ESP) Kawasaki ZX-6R 1’40.848; 3. Sofuoglu K. (TUR) Honda CBR600RR 1’40.998; 4. Laverty E. (IRL) Honda CBR600RR 1’41.002; 5. Foret F. (FRA) Yamaha YZF R6 1’41.130; 6. McCoy G. (AUS) Triumph Daytona 675 1’41.412; 7. Pirro M. (ITA) Yamaha YZF R6 1’41.436; 8. West A. (AUS) Honda CBR600RR 1’41.496
Maxime Berger (Ten Kate Honda) set a new lap record of 1 minute 41.108 seconds in qualifying to take the top slot of the grid for tomorrow’s second round of the FIM Cup. The Frenchman had already shown himself to be on form in free practice and left no space for his rivals in the sole grid-deciding session. Italian Davide Giugliano (Unionbike MV Agusta), Sylvain Barrier (Garnier Yamaha) of France and championship leader Claudio Corti (Suzuki Alstare) completed the front row. European 600 champion Loris Baz (MRS Yamaha) looked good for fifth place, but one of the title favourites Xavier Simeon (Ducati Xerox Junior Team) failed to emerge in qualifying and could only make row 3.
Times: 1. Berger M. (FRA) Honda CBR1000RR 1’41.108; 2. Giugliano D. (ITA) MV Agusta F4 312 R 1’41.636; 3. Barrier S. (FRA) Yamaha YZF R1 1’41.988; 4. Corti C. (ITA) Suzuki GSX-R 1000 K9 1’42.199; 5. Baz L. (FRA) Yamaha YZF R1 1’42.368; 6. Burrell B. (GBR) Honda CBR1000RR 1’42.446; 7. Fores J. (ESP) Kawasaki ZX 10R 1’42.459; 8. Schouten R. (NED) Yamaha YZF R1 1’42.497
Danilo Petrucci (Yamaha Trasimeno) continued his great early season form with pole position at Assen and a new best lap of 1 minute 44.376 seconds. The Italian is favourite for the win tomorrow, but he will have to watch out in particular for Dutch rider Joey Litjens (VD Heyden Yamaha) as well as Vincent Lonbois (MTM Yamaha) and Marco Bussolotti (Yamaha Trasimeno), who make up the all-Yamaha front row. Another title contender Gino Rea (Ten Kate Honda) lines up in fifth place.
Times: 1. Petrucci D. (ITA) Yamaha YZF R6 1’44.376; 2. Litjens J. (NED) Yamaha YZF R6 1’44.556; 3. Lonbois V. (BEL) Yamaha YZF R6 1’44.915; 4. Bussolotti M. (ITA) Yamaha YZF R6 1’44.960; 4. Rea G. (GBR) Honda CBR600RR 1’45.414; 6. Kerschbaumer S. (AUT) Yamaha YZF R6 1’45.518; 7. La Marra E. (ITA) Honda CBR600RR 1’45.607; 8. Lombardi D. (ITA) Kawasaki ZX-6R 1’45.769