Spies takes Superpole ...
Spies takes Superpole #11 at Portimao, Haga starts from row 3
The final Superpole session of 2009 went the same way as ten others this season as Ben Spies made it 11 out of 14 for the Yamaha World Superbike team, an outright record for the series, at the Algarve Circuit in Portugal. The Texan's lap time of 1 minute 42.412 seconds was almost one second under last year's best lap set by Troy Bayliss. Spies thus becomes the number 1 favourite for the race wins tomorrow, seeing as his chief rival for the title, points leader Noriyuki Haga (Ducati Xerox) will only start from row 3 of the grid with the tenth quickest time, after not making the cut in Superpole 2. Partial consolation for Ducati came from the performance by privateer Shane Byrne (Sterilgarda Ducati) and Haga's team-mate Michel Fabrizio, who were in second and third place respectively. The front row was completed by Jonathan Rea (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda).
Leon Haslam (Stiggy Racing Honda) overhauled Max Biaggi (Aprilia Racing) at the end of the session to take an excellent fifth place, after the Italian had crashed out in the pre-Superpole free session. Fonsi Nieto (DFX Ducati) and Troy Corser (BMW Motorrad) will line up alongside on the second row, while WSB newcomer Sylvian Guintoli made an excellent debut with eleventh place on the Suzuki Alstare machine.
Ben Spies: "We've been working under the radar all weekend on a lot of different things. Superpole was good for us, we kept pushing as hard as we could. Unfortunately Nori is back on the third row but we need anything we can get for track position. But it's not just about me and Nori tomorrow, there are other guys, we'll just run our own race and give it everything we've got to try and win both these things."
Shane Byrne: "I'm delighted to be back on the front row, it seems like it's been forever. We actually used both of our qualifying tyres before the last section and then a 42.99 came up on my dash and I was so tired that I closed the throttle on the straight and I had one more lap to go! Hopefully we can have a good weekend here and see what happens for next year."
Michel Fabrizio: "It was very hot and difficult in qualifying today. For the race I think the bike is OK, but in qualifying it was not so good. My race pace is quite similar to Ben Spies's but I know he is very fast. Hopefully also Shane can get into the battle. It's very important for me to do a good race for Ducati tomorrow and for sure I'll try and give a hand to my team-mate."
Jonathan Rea: "Twelve months ago I made my Superbike debut here and I didn't like the track. I think I must be getting worse because I was third on the grid last year. But we've had a good weekend so far and I've got a really good feeling with the bike."
Eugene Laverty (Parkalgar Honda) scored the first pole position of his Supersport career at the Portuguese team's home circuit. The Irish rider needed to put together a blistering lap to keep Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha World Supersport) at bay, and he did just that with a time of 1 minute 44.836 seconds, a new circuit record. The points leader however was less than a tenth behind the man he will be trying to outpace tomorrow for the title. Italian Michele Pirro (Yamaha Lorenzini) put in a great run for third on the grid, his second best result of the season following pole at Misano. The front row is completed by Kenan Sofuoglu (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda), who held off Joan Lascorz (Kawasaki Motocard.com) by just four-thousandths of a second. Once again Garry McCoy produced another positive performance, taking the Be1 Racing Triumph to the second row, which also includes home favourite Miguel Praia (Parkalgar Honda) and Fabien Foret (Yamaha World Supersport).
With a new lap record of 1 minute 46"316 seconds, Maxime Berger (Ten Kate Honda) clinched the pole position, his second of the season, in the Superstock 1000 qualifying session. The Frenchman managed to hold off the attacks from the newly-crowned champion Xavier Simeon (Ducati Xerox), who was just 56/1000ths off the pace. The other two riders on the front row are Austrian Renè Mahr (TKR Suzuki) and Frenchman Sylvain Barrier (Garnier Yamaha). Claudio Corti (Suzuki Alstare) is in fifth place on the grid, with another of the protagonists of the season Javi Fores (Kawasaki Pedercini) alongside.
Marco Bussolotti (Yamaha Trasimeno) and Vincent Lonbois (MTM Yamaha) will start from the front row, with the other title challengers Gino Rea (Ten Kate Honda) on row 2 and Danilo Petrucci (Yamaha Trasimeno) on row 3. These four riders will fight it out for the European Superstock 600 title tomorrow. Pole position, the first of the season, went to Eddi La Marra (Ten Kate Honda), while fourth place went to Norway's Fredrik Karlsen (VD Heyden Yamaha). Young French talent Florian Marino (Race Junior Honda), winner at Magny-Cours, set the seventh quickest time.