News 31 May 2009

WSBK: Spies breaks pole record with seventh straight at home

Infront MotorSports PR:

Ben Spies (Yamaha World Superbike) will start tomorrow’s Utah US Round of the Hannspree FIM Superbike World Championship at Miller Motorsports Park from pole position after powering to a record seventh Superpole in seven races.

The 24-year-old Texan wiped out the old record of six poles on the run set by fellow Texan Doug Polen in 1991. Spies was quickest both in Superpole 2 and Superpole 3 to take the front slot with a time of 1 minute 48.319 seconds.

In Superpole 1 the fastest time of 1’49.261 was set by American Jamie Hacking, who surprised everyone on the Kawasaki World Superbike machine that has so far had a difficult start to the season. Second and third places on the grid went to the Ten Kate Honda pairing of Spain’s Carlos Checa, last year’s double race winner, and Ryuichi Kiyonari of Japan, while Italian Michel Fabrizio (Ducati Xerox) continued his good feeling with the Miller track with the final front row grid slot.

Shane Byrne (Sterilgarda Ducati) proved to be best of the Brits with a good run to sixth, a couple of tenths behind Jakub Smrz on a similar Guandalini 1098 machine. Broc Parkes and Hacking made it a positive day for Kawasaki with seventh and eighth places on the grid.

Max Biaggi’s unfortunate feeling with Superpole continued as Friday’s provisional pole holder crashed during Superpole 2 and although the Italian managed to get back to the pits he was eliminated and will start from row 4 with sixteenth time.

It was also a difficult Superpole for points leader Noriyuki Haga (Ducati Xerox) who had a nasty-looking crash in qualifying from which he came away bruised and battered. Haga was eliminated from the second knock-out phase and will start from row 3 with ninth quickest time. Spies and Fabrizio, respectively 88 and 85 points behind, may now have a chance to cut the gap tomorrow in the two 21-lap races.

Ben Spies: “It was a good session for us, the last few minutes there were some drops coming down and we were pretty nervous, but we’d worked well since this morning and I stuck to the plan in Superpole. I think we have a good race pace, there are a few guys that have good pace as well so the race should be interesting. Twelve months ago I didn’t think I’d be here on pole at Miller in Superbike but it’s great. I’m having a blast!”

Carlos Checa: “Finally this year I’m starting to be in the front group, I feel that the second place is very important to make a good start tomorrow. Overall it looks good, I hope the weather stays dry because at the end of the practice it was a little bit scary, with dark clouds and lightning! I don’t know what is happening here at Miller, I always have a good feeling with this circuit, it’s a good track with a lot of grip so we need to check why we have no grip in the other circuits!”

Ryuichi Kiyonari: “That was much better than Kyalami qualifying and the feeling with my Honda is much better than the recent races. As for my race pace for tomorrow I think it is a little bit not fast enough but if I can do a good start maybe I can follow the group and hope to get a podium.”

Michel Fabrizio: “Superpole went well and I’m really pleased with my form, I start from the front row of the grid and out race pace is really good, let’s see if we can do a couple of good races on this track tomorrow. We are losing a bit to the four-cylinder machines coming out of the turns but all things considered we are in a good position and for sure tomorrow we’ll be competitive.”

Times: 1. Spies B. (USA) Yamaha YZF R1 1’48.344; 2. Checa C. (ESP) Honda CBR1000RR 1’48.908; 3. Kiyonari R. (JPN) Honda CBR1000RR 1’49.243; 4. Fabrizio M. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 1’49.434; 5. Smrz J. (CZE) Ducati 1098R 1’49.658; 6. Byrne S. (GBR) Ducati 1098R 1’49.982; 7. Parkes B. (AUS) Kawasaki ZX 10R 1’51.3288. Hacking J. (USA) Kawasaki ZX 10R 1’51.438; 9. Haga N. (JPN) Ducati 1098R 1’49.516; 10. Nakano S. (JPN) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1’49.528; 11. Rea J. (GBR) Honda CBR1000RR 1’49.541; 12. Haslam L. (GBR) Honda CBR1000RR 1’49.765; 13. Kagayama Y. (JPN) Suzuki GSX-R 1000 K9 1’50.114; 14. Nieto F. (ESP) Suzuki GSX-R 1000 K9 1’50.488; 15. Scassa L. (ITA) Kawasaki ZX 10R 1’50.987; 16. Biaggi M. (ITA). Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1’51.351

World Supersport

Joan Lascorz, 24 years old from Spain, scored his first-ever pole position in the seventh round of the Supersport World Championship at Miller Motorsports Park.

This is the seventh time since 1999 a Kawasaki has started from pole, the last time being the Australian Round in 2007, with Fabien Foret on board. Lascorz’s time of 1 minute 51.749 seconds on the Kawasaki ZX-6R was a fraction quicker than Irishman Eugene Laverty (Parkalgar Honda), while points leader Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha World Supersport) qualified third.

Italian Gianluca Nannelli produced a great performance on the ParkinGO 675 machine to give Triumph its first front row position in 2009, while another Italian Massimo Roccoli (Intermoto Honda) was fifth quickest. At the start of the session reigning world champion Andrew Pitt (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) was taken to the medical centre for slight concussion following a crash on his out lap but it is not serious.

In 27th place (out of 29 starters) can be found Melissa Paris, 26 years old from California, who becomes the first woman to start a Supersport World Championship race, while the 28 year-old Canadian Marie-Joseé Boucher failed to qualify.

Times: 1. Lascorz J. (ESP) Kawasaki ZX-6R 1’51.749; 2. Laverty E. (IRL) Honda CBR600RR 1’51.829; 3. Crutchlow C. (GBR) Yamaha YZF R6 1’52.051; 4. Nannelli G. (ITA) Triumph Daytona 675 1’52.659; 5. Roccoli M. (ITA) Honda CBR600RR 1’52.726; 6. Sofuoglu K. (TUR) Honda CBR600RR 1’52.755; 7. McCoy G. (AUS) Triumph Daytona 675 1’52.794; 8. Foret F. (FRA) Yamaha YZF R6 1’52.827