Ben Spies (Yamaha World Superbike) powered to his sixth successive Superpole triumph at the Kyalami circuit in South Africa, equaling the long-standing record set by his fellow Texan Doug Polen (Ducati) in 1991. The session at Kyalami was one of the most exciting seen so far this season, with a two-way battle between the two Monza winners, Spies and Michel Fabrizio (Ducati Xerox). The outcome was decided in the final seconds, when the Texan responded to his Italian rival, setting quickest time by just one-thousandth of a second, the smallest margin ever recorded in Superpole history.
Third and fourth places on the front row for tomorrow’s two races went to Max Biaggi (Aprilia Racing) and Noriyuki Haga (Ducati Xerox). The Italian, who again recorded the top speed of the day at 251.8 km/h on his RSV4, capitalized on his final run to jump up from seventh to third. For points leader Haga, fourth place can be considered an excellent result because the Japanese rider was almost eliminated in the second knock-out phase, but just managed to make the cut by a whisker from Shinya Nakano (Aprilia Racing).
1st – Ben Spies Speaks….
"It was a good Superpole session for us, although it hasn’t all gone well. After qualifying we had to look in the mirror and get our stuff together but we’ve been improving the bike all weekend and I got down to some very fast times on race tyres. I had both qualifiers for the last Superpole but they had so much grip that they were definitely changing the bike and I never could nail one lap but luckily we were able to get it today. It wasn’t perfect, but it was good to get the six in a row. I think we have a very good package but it’ll be a very tough race and for sure there’ll be a lot of sliding around tomorrow."
2nd – Michel Fabrizio Speaks…
"I really thought I’d taken the pole but unfortunately Ben beat me by a thousandth of a second. In any case I’m really happy with the way things are going this weekend. I’ve got a good race pace, let’s see if we can do a couple of good races tomorrow, for sure they’ll be other guys up there with us, including Nori, as there are a lot of riders who are quick out there. At Monza I really enjoyed myself with the win, for sure here it’ll be even more fun because there are a lot more curves than Monza for overtaking."
3rd – Max Biaggi Speaks…
"It’s good to be back on the front row again and I’m very excited for that. In the qualifying we’ve been running comfortably at a good pace. When we put soft rubber on, things were coming better but we had to solve some real problems and that made the chattering high. For the race we will do some little modifications, but the bike is working well compared to the winter tests so hopefully for tomorrow we can continue this way."
The second row line-up sees an impressive Jonathan Rea (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) in fifth place, and he will be flanked by the best of the privateers, Jakub Smrz (Guandalini Ducati), his Hannspree Ten Kate team-mate Carlos Checa and Tom Sykes (Yamaha World Superbike). South African rider Sheridan Morais put in a good performance for eleventh place on the Kawasaki ZX-10R machine vacated temporarily by Makoto Tamada, while Suzuki and BMW struggled, with Yukio Kagayama and Ruben Xaus down on the fourth row of the grid.
World Superbike Times
1. Spies B. (USA) Yamaha YZF R1 1’37.288; 2. Fabrizio M. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 1’37.289; 3. Biaggi M. (ITA) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1’37.466; 4. Haga N. (JPN) Ducati 1098R 1’37.544; 5. Rea J. (GBR) Honda CBR1000RR 1’37.634; 6. Smrz J. (CZE) Ducati 1098R 1’37.677; 7. Checa C. (ESP) Honda CBR1000RR 1’37.940; 8. Sykes T. (GBR) Yamaha YZF R1 1’38.241; 9. Nakano S. (JPN) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1’37.935; 10. Haslam L. (GBR) Honda CBR1000RR 1’37.988; 11. Morais S. (RSA) Kawasaki ZX 10R 1’38.013; 12. Kiyonari R. (JPN) Honda CBR1000RR 1’38.081; 13. Kagayama Y. (JPN) Suzuki GSX-R 1000 K9 1’38.130; 14. Byrne S. (GBR) Ducati 1098R 1’38.171; 15. Xaus R. (ESP) BMW S1000 RR 1’38.194; 16. Lavilla G. (ESP) Ducati 1098R 1’38.733
Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha World Supersport) powered to his fifth successive Supersport pole with another spectacular last-minute effort around the Kyalami circuit. The points leader, running third until the final moments of the session, ended up top of the pack with a time of 1 minute 40.634 seconds, the revised circuit’s new benchmark. This season the only rider to get the better of Crutchlow in qualifying has been Kenan Sofuoglu (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) in Australia, and the Turkish rider once again gave Crutchlow a run for his money at Kyalami. The gap between the two however was over three-tenths but Crutchlow was the only rider to get under 1’41. Two more Honda CBR machines made up the front row of the grid, the Parkalgar version of Eugene Laverty in third, and Andrew Pitt (Hannspree Ten Kate) in fourth. Spain’s Joan Lascorz (Kawasaki Motocard.com) looks to be a competitive interloper on his ZX-6R machine, confirming his and his bike’s early season form, while alongside in sixth can be found the best of the Italians, Michele Pirro (Yamaha Lorenzini), also a possible candidate for a podium finish tomorrow.
World Supersport Times
1. Crutchlow C. (GBR) Yamaha YZF R6 1’40.634 ; 2. Sofuoglu K. (TUR) Honda CBR600RR 1’41.003; 3. Laverty E. (IRL) Honda CBR600RR 1’41.161; 4. Pitt A. (AUS) Honda CBR600RR 1’41.396; 5. Lascorz J. (ESP) Kawasaki ZX-6R 1’41.558; 6. Pirro M. (ITA) Yamaha YZF R6 1’41.563; 7. Foret F. (FRA) Yamaha YZF R6 1’41.603; 8. Aitchison M. (AUS) Honda CBR600RR 1’41.699
KYALAMI – 6th ROUND – 15TH, 16TH AND 17TH MAY 2009