Kyalami: Yamaha Saturday notes

Spies on fire as he equals the Superpole record Yamaha World Superbike rider Ben Spies erased any doubts anyone had of his abilities today as he equaled the all time consecutive Superpole record set in 1991 by fellow Texan Doug Polen. Spies had...

Spies on fire as he equals the Superpole record

Yamaha World Superbike rider Ben Spies erased any doubts anyone had of his abilities today as he equaled the all time consecutive Superpole record set in 1991 by fellow Texan Doug Polen. Spies had spent the earlier qualifying session and subsequent free practice sessions perfecting the set-up of the 2009 R1 in time for the Superpole heats. He came out strongly from the start and was looking fast from the word go. Saving his qualifiers for the last session, he put in an incredible 1.37.423 to go onto provisional pole with his first of the two super sticky tyres. As the session drew to a close it looked like Fabrizio was going to snatch the pole from him, putting in a super quick 1.37.289, only for the American rocket to cross the line a few seconds later 0.001 seconds faster, taking his sixth consecutive pole position start and his rightful place at the front of the grid.

Team-mate Tom Sykes had what could be his best Superpole session yet of the season, having performed well in the second qualifying session the British rider had finished in fourth, only 0.4 off leader Fabrizio. Some further fine tuning in the afternoon's free practice session saw Sykes ready and eager to perform in the Superpole heats. He came out strongly in the first session, scoring an initial provisional third. Session two proved even quicker, ducking under the 1.38 mark and keeping him in for the third session for the first time this year. By the end of the heats he had secured 8th position and a second row start on the grid for tomorrow's races.

Ben Spies, Yamaha World Superbike Team, (1st, 1'37.288)

"It was a good Superpole session, we got down to some fast times on race tyres in the first two heats which was great. It wasn't perfect at the end, I didn't feel I used the qualifiers as well as I could have, they were so grippy I didn't take full advantage of them. The bike is working really well but we need to find a bit more for the race so we're now going to concentrate on tomorrow. Michel Fabrizio has been riding well all weekend, I think the Ducatis will be up front and it's going to be a tough race. It's a long one and everyone will be sliding around at the end so it should be a great one to watch."

Tom Sykes, Yamaha World Superbike Team, (8th, 1'38.241)

"I struggled a bit yesterday but we made some big changes overnight and got a lot quicker today. I was really happy towards the end of qualifying, we found a few more tenths which made a difference. Superpole was good and I'm happy to have made it through to the third heat. There have been a couple of riders who have been up there all weekend and they're now on the third row so second is good for me to start from. I should get a good start and am looking to be consistent. There'll be a big drop off in race tyres so it'll be a case of seeing who can hold on till the end. Overall it is blue skies here so let's have some fun in south Africa!"

Massimo Meregalli, Yamaha World Superbike Team

"Six pole positions in a row is not so bad! Both riders did a great job in Superpole to be able to start on the first two rows. I think we solved most of our problems from yesterday through today's sessions so we're ready for race day. Our performance so far makes me think we can get good results in the races. The team has worked really hard to develop the set-up of both bikes from yesterday so we're looking forward to challenging for the podium."

-credit: yamaha

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About this article
Series World Superbike
Drivers Ben Spies , Michel Fabrizio , Tom Sykes