Althea Ducati rider Carlos Checa dominated the final Superpole session with a fabulous new track best lap of 1’47.081, beating Max Biaggi (Aprilia Alitalia) by 0.333 seconds and Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha Sterilgarda) by 0.567 seconds, in a session that was red-flagged for a time and then re-started.
Jakub Smrz (Pata B&G Ducati) was fourth, one place ahead of championship leader, Leon Haslam (Alstare Suzuki).
Smrz was one of a few top riders to crash today, as track temperatures and the levels of competition heated up.
Noriyuki Haga (Ducati Xerox) was happy in sixth place, with Jonathan Rea (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) overcoming the effects of a huge crash that brought out the red flags to go seventh, one place up on Leon Camier (Aprilia Alitalia).
Ruben Xaus (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) was just out of the final Superpole qualifying session, ninth fastest and top BMW rider after Troy Corser fell in Superpole two and finished 15th.
The second factory Ducati of Michel Fabrizio was tenth fastest, ahead of Checa’s teammate, Shane Byrne.
Sylvain Guintoli (Suzuki Alstare) went 12th in his first qualifying experience at Miller. Impressive Ducati privateer Luca Scassa was 13th on his Supersonic Racing team 1098, ahead of struggling James Toseland, from the Yamaha Sterilgarda team.
The official Kawasaki Racing Team duo of Chris Vermeulen and Tom Sykes missed out on Superpole 2, with Sykes having a crunching high-side crash in Superpole 1.
Local rider Roger Lee Hayden (Pedercini Kawasaki) went 20th.
1st – Carlos Checa says: "I know this track and I really like this track. And we made a good job. I always have some success here; always feel well. Even now with the Ducati we have had fantastic performance. I didn’t expect to get this lap time and to get the Superpole win. We know the Aprilia has a lot of speed. With a lot of grip even this makes it more difficult. But finally, this lap time was fantastic."
2nd – Max Biaggi says: "I think we have been in a good pace since yesterday and we have found a way to work better with one bike than the other, in chassis and set-up of the suspension. Today we have found a good way in Superpole and we will start from the front row, which is important."
3rd – Cal Crutchlow says: "It has not been too bad but the pace was so fast. Carlos and Max have been fast all weekend. All credit to Carlos, what a fantastic lap. I could not get anywhere near that and yet I have been going well in Superpole lately. We should have two close races tomorrow and we have a good chance of being in the top five, because we have good race pace."
Max Biaggi says: "We worked a lot and we did our best job. It was important to start in the first row. Obviously I’m satisfied. We can say that in the end, working on different solutions and on the two bikes, we found a good point of balance. We put together all the data from the practices and with the team we made what seemed to be the best choices. Now we are fast enough to stay in the pack with the best and, as always, it is rather tight and crowded. Then, for the races, it will depend as always on many factors, not the least of which is the conditions we find".
Leon Camier says: "I’m finally beginning to take good advantage of my RSV4 in Superpole as well. Unfortunately a few mistakes in the first session forced me to use the first race tyre because I didn’t want to risk being relegated out of the top 16. The second qualifier went smoother and I got into the top eight easily with fifth place. It’s a sham that in the last pole the only tyres I had left to use were soft ones. I could have gained a few places but I didn’t have the grip to push to the limit. It’s not the end of the world in any case. I like the track and I’ve got a good racing pace. I’ve got good feelings for the two races tomorrow".
Roger Lee Hayden says: "I’m pretty satisfied about my today qualifying and Superpole. We didn’t improve as much as we wanted probably because we focused a lot on a race tyre and still the decision is up in the air. Anyway I entered my first Superpole and it was really fun. I didn’t use the soft tyre as well as I should, but it was a learning experience. I’m really excited to race tomorrow in front of my home country fans and I’ll try my best to reach a good result for them and for all my team".
Matteo Baiocco says: "Today we have not got the results we were hoping for. This morning during the qualifying session I found for the first time a very good feeling with my Kawasaki ZX10R and I improved my best lap time. Unfortunately during afternoon free practice I suffered for some electronic problems on my bike and I was not able to continue to improve and to better understand this difficult track. I hope we can find a better set up for the race tomorrow during warm up. It’s not ideal to start from the sixth row but nothing we can do now except make up places as quick as I can tomorrow."
Jakub Smrz says: "I was very fast today as well, at the end of qualifying practice I was second, just a few hundreds of a second behind the pole position. I then used the free practice session to work on the bike and found the right setup for the race after trying different solutions. In Superpole, I could’ve done better if it wasn’t for the crash. I entered the corner too aggressively and lost control of the back wheel. However, I’m looking forward to the race, I start from the front row and I’ll do my best to score a good result".
Leon Haslam says: "In final Superpole, I was on a flyer and, according to my first two splits, on course for the second or third quickest time. Then the red flag came out and that was the end of that. Although the session started again, I did not have any qualifiers to use and there really wasn’t enough time to make an improvement, so row two it is for me. It’s not so bad, because turn one is a long way off, but it could be bad if Max Biaggi makes a good start because the Aprilia is so fast and he could easily exit the first corner with a good advantage.
"I’m pretty happy with my bike set-up, though of course I always think that we can improve it further. We will all sit down and look at the telemetry this evening and decide if we want to make some small changes in tomorrow morning’s warm-up. One thing is sure – tomorrow’s races are going to be long and hard and there are going to be some really good battles. The nature of this track suits the Ducatis and Aprilia and I think all of us four-cylinder boys are going to have work our socks off to stay with them, but we will see what happens as the races play out. I am leading the Championship now and I want to be still leading it when we leave tomorrow evening."
Sylvain Guintoli says" "Before Superpole I was pretty happy because I felt that we had made a big step forward today. I missed out on getting into Superpole 3 by a whisker, probably because of a very small mistake on my fast lap. As I said before, the very smallest of mistakes can be fatal at this level and that’s how it was today. However, I am happy with the set-up of my bike and happy with my rhythm on the track today – especially as this is my first time here. The first turn is quite wide and I hope to make good starts and be in a good position as I head into it. If I can do that, I think I can fight with the front guys for sure. Tomorrow morning we’ll make some small adjustments and see if we can improve the bike further, but really it’s more or less ready to race now. I am looking forward to the races, having some good battles and getting some good results."
Noriyuki Haga says: "I am of course very happy to have qualified on the second row for tomorrow’s races. It seems we have found a solution to one of the problems I was having, I have a better level of feeling and I have been able to turn the bike as I want to. Tomorrow morning we’ll make a few more small changes to see if we can further improve there but I’m feeling quite confident, let’s cross our fingers that tomorrow conditions allow us to make two great races."
Michel Fabrizio says: "I’m disappointed as I hoped to qualify on the front rows and it won’t be at all easy to start from the third. I was losing valuable time in the final split and didn’t manage to put together that extra fast lap that was needed. However we’ve found good race pace over these two days and, if I can make a good start, I’m confident I can make two good races; I really like this track and would like to do well here."
Jonathan Rea says: "I was getting massive chatter from the rear when we put the qualifier in, so we changed the bike a little bit for Superpole 3. I went out on a slightly used qualifier but the rear just chattered its way round to a highside and I went over the bars. The tyre had the last word on my neck and chest, too, which is a little sore but I’ll be OK for tomorrow. I guess the second row is not too bad and we’re fairly confident that the race set up will be good right the way through the 21 laps. As long as I can get away well at the start, I’ll be hoping to have something to say about the finish."
Max Neukirchner says: "The team has been working very well today but we can’t seem to lose the chatter at the rear and the qualifying tyre seemed to just make it worse. We have improved the braking and corner entry but it’s still not enough, so we will try to follow the same path as today in tomorrow’s warm-up to find a little bit extra for the race. We still have a lot of work to do to get up to a good race pace, but I will try my best tomorrow.’
Ronald ten Kate says: "I believe we are again ready to race, but the Kyalami story has repeated itself here, because there we couldn’t really get in a single fast lap. The chatter that we experienced from the qualifying tyres here has certainly set new standards for our data system. Jonathan took a nasty hit but we know he’s a tough guy and tomorrow is Monday, which we hope, like most Sundays, will be his fun day. With Max we still have some work in progress. After a disastrous round in Kyalami we’re no longer in the dark and I believe we’ve found the right direction to follow."
Ruben Xaus says: "On the one hand I am disappointed because I missed the final Superpole session by just two hundredths of a second, while on the other hand I am really happy: If someone had told me yesterday I would start ninth, I would not have believed it. We were looking for a good position on the grid. Now I am hoping for good starts tomorrow. I am optimistic for tomorrow as I believe our pace on race tyres is good."
Troy Corser says: "I have reason to be happy. I can do good lap times on the race tyre and the bike settings feel quite good. Unfortunately the qualifying tyre was not easy to ride on. I had chattering on the out lap, and when I approached turn 1 on my flying lap I braked, as usual, but when I released the brake I fell off the bike. I tried not to damage the bike too much, and I am happy not to be hurt. I hope I can take advantage of the long straight before turn 1 when starting tomorrow’s races."
Davide Tardozzi (BMW Motorrad Motorsport Team Manager) says: "We have improved a lot today. Both riders did good lap times on the race tyre, but the result of the Superpole is a bit unlucky: Ruben missed the final Superpole session only by two hundredths of a second. Troy obviously compromised a possible starting position from one of the two front rows with a crash. However, in the morning he showed he is quick. I am looking forward to tomorrow’s races."
Cal Crutchlow says: "Today hasn’t been too bad, the pace is so fast out there for everybody. Carlos Checa and Max Biaggi have been fast all weekend, all credit to Carlos what a fantastic Superpole lap, not even I could get near it and I’ve been pretty good in Superpole this year! I’m looking forward to the races tomorrow, I think we’ve got a good chance of being top five and we’ve got good race pace."
James Toseland says: "We went out on the standard bike set up at the beginning of the weekend at a slower pace learning the track, going from 1’51 second laps then down into the 1’50’s. We then switched to a new set up which seemed to work at those speeds, but as we got down into the 1’48’s it made it a lot harsher over the bumps on the track, unfortunately it was too late to change this before Superpole. So tomorrow morning we’ll go back to a set up we know works well, it’s just a shame as it’s cost us a good grid position. Hopefully tomorrow morning we’ll be able to get back down to some good lap times and get more comfortable again. In the race I’m going to need a good start and then I’m just going to get stuck in."
Massimo Meregalli (Yamaha Sterilgarda World Superbike Team Manager) says: "The first row for Cal is great and a good starting point for the races. It’s a little bit different on James’s side having to start from the fourth row, for sure the race will be tougher for him. We will work tonight to make sure we understand what isn’t right in the set up, I’m confident we will have a good solution tomorrow morning to give him the set up he needs to fight in the races."
Luca Scassa says: "We are not yet fully comfortable with the bike, especially on the back I still have issues that do not allow me to ride as I want. Indeed, during the second Superpole I tried a trail to try to shave a few tenths valuable, but I could not find the time to earn a bit more speed on the long straight. Never mind, we have a very good step ‘s single variable can be the start but we will do the best we can. There will be two races and fought very hard but I think we have a good chance for success."
Final Superbike Superpole Times
1. Checa C. (ESP) Ducati 1198 1’47.081 (163,691 km/h);
2. Biaggi M. (ITA) Aprilia RSV4 1’47.414;
3. Crutchlow C. (GBR) Yamaha YZF R1 1’47.648;
4. Smrz J. (CZE) Ducati 1198 1’47.662;
5. Haslam L. (GBR) Suzuki GSX R 1000 1’48.006;
6. Haga N. (JPN) Ducati 1198 1’48.035;
7. Rea J. (GBR) Honda CBR 1000 RR 1’48.378;
8. Camier L. (GBR) Aprilia RSV4 1’48.621;
9. Xaus R. (ESP) BMW S1000 RR 1’48.141;
10. Fabrizio M. (ITA) Ducati 1198 1’48.154;
11. Byrne S. (GBR) Ducati 1198 1’48.159; 1
2. Guintoli S. (FRA) Suzuki GSX R 1000 1’48.162;
13. Scassa L. (ITA) Ducati 1198 1’48.274;
14. Toseland J. (GBR) Yamaha YZF R1 1’48.640;
15. Corser T. (AUS) BMW S1000 RR 1’48.706;
16. Neukirchner M. (GER) Honda CBR 1000 RR 1’48.964;
17. Vermeulen C. (AUS) Kawasaki ZX-10 R 1’49.635;
18. Sykes T. (GBR) Kawasaki ZX-10 R 1’50.135;
19. Parkes B. (AUS) Honda CBR 1000 RR 1’50.479;
20. Hayden R.L. (USA) Kawasaki ZX-10 R 1’50.956;
21. Baiocco M. (ITA) Kawasaki ZX-10 R 1’52.691