Carlos Checa will start from the second row of the grid for tomorrow’s two ninth-round World Superbike championship races at Donington Park after setting the seventh fastest time in this afternoon’s final Superpole shoot-out.
It is the sixth time this season that the Spanish Hannspree Ten Kate Honda has qualified in the same position as the race number that adorns his CBR1000RR machine.
Pole position was taken by Ben Spies as Checa’s team-mate, Jonathan Rea, was only able to qualify in 12th place for a third row start, in spite of running in the top six during today’s second qualifying and free practice sessions.
7th – Carlos Checa Speaks… (1’31.342s)
"As soon as the rain started to fall at the end of the final Superpole session, I rolled off a little, but also, when I hooked sixth gear down the back straight, the bike jumped back into fifth, so the lap would not have been better. It’s a difficult track to come to with a new suspension package – especially since we have not enjoyed fully dry sessions. We have made some improvements though, and we will try to fine tune things in the morning, but we won’t make such a big change I think. Second row is not such a bad place to start and I did some consistent laps today, so I think quite a good pace is possible."
12th – Jonathan Rea Speaks… (1’30.782s)
"Sector three was my problem this afternoon. Last week, the circuit flowed and we never really got to the bottom of the stroke, but here we are struggling with the rear coming round on corner entry and I’m having to wait longer than I’d like to get on the throttle. As a consequence, I’m having to over-ride the bike and in that last sector I’m really on the limit and sometimes over it. That’s going to be difficult to maintain for 23 laps tomorrow. We found a little something today, so all is not lost – although we’re leaving it a little late to find the full solution. The third row is not what I expected here but, with a couple of good starts tomorrow, we can hopefully fight near the front."
Ronald ten Kate Speaks… (Team Manager)
"We started the weekend here quite a long way off a perfect set-up for Donington, but we have made quite a big jump forward today. I don’t think Johnny’s Superpole result really reflects the speed he showed at times on track today and he was a little unlucky. Carlos is in his favourite position – again. It’s now becoming a little scary, the times he is qualifying in seventh place! We’ll all work hard through tonight to try and find another step forward; but a dry warm-up tomorrow morning is crucial for us to have some good results from the races."
2009 World Superbike Championship, Round Nine – Donington Park, UK
Final qualifying results:
1 Ben Spies (USA) Yamaha 1’29.846s
2 Max Biaggi (ITA) Aprilia 1’30.080s
3 Shane Byrne (GBR) Ducati 1’30.535s
4 Shinya Nakano (JPN) Aprilia 1’30.671s
7 Carlos Checa (ESP) Hannspree Ten Kate Honda 1’31.342s
12 Jonathan Rea (GBR) Hannspree Ten Kate Honda 1’30.387s