News 31 May 2009

WSBK: Checa fast again at Miller with third on grid

Ten Kate Honda PR:

Carlos Checa set the third fastest time during a frantic and weather-affected Superpole session today to grab a front row start in tomorrow’s two seventh round World Superbike championship races at Miller Motorsports Park near Salt Lake City, USA. American Ben Spies set the fastest time this afternoon, taking a record seventh consecutive WSBK pole position.

The Spanish ace, who started from pole position and won both races here last year, has been running at the front since the first free practice session yesterday and is confident enough in his CBR1000RR Fireblade to think of a repetition of last year’s results.

His Hannspree Ten Kate Honda team-mate Jonathan Rea, who is on his first visit to the 4.9km Miller circuit, will start from the third row of the grid for tomorrow’s two 21-lap races after setting the eleventh fastest Superpole time.

The 22-year-old from Northern Ireland, crashed his number one machine in free practice, just before the three-stage Superpole session began. Despite a sore head, Rea made it through to Superpole 2, but a mistake during his second stint and the threat of rain stopped him progressing to the final eight.

Carlos Checa – P2, 1’48.908s (Superpole 3)

It’s been a difficult first half of the season but we have been steadily improving and the team is now working really well together, so I am very happy to start from the front row here. I don’t know what it is about this place that makes me feel so comfortable on the bike but there is certainly more grip on the side of the tyre and the bike has been steadily improving for the last few rounds. It certainly won’t be easy in the races tomorrow – Ben (Spies) and three or four other riders are very fast, so we’ll have to see what happens in the races. But, for sure, it feels very good to be at the front again and I hope to turn it into good results in the races tomorrow.

Jonathan Rea – P11, 1’49.591s (Superpole 2)

I had a pretty big crash right at the end of the free practice session and that kind of upset my rhythm for Superpole. It’s a shame because I was running in about sixth at the time after we found something in that first sector, where I was suffering yesterday. I made a mistake on my first qualifier in Superpole 2 and then I was distracted by the threat of rain and I ended up missing the cut by about three hundredths of a second. I’m pretty confident that we’ve got a good race set-up though, so I’ll try to get a couple of really good starts tomorrow and see what happens.

Ronald ten Kate – team manager

I’d almost call it a perfect weekend so far, with Carlos and our other team rider, Ryuichi Kiyonari, on the front row for tomorrow. They have both been on the pace since their very first laps at Miller and it’s of course ideal to have them both at the front. Jonathan is picking up the pace quickly as well and I strongly believe that he showed the pace to deserve a place there as well. I think we’re more than ready to race and to give the local guy and good run for his money.