Yamaha World Superbike rider Ben Spies was back on form today, working up speed through the Superpole sessions to end the final heat with an incredible lap, smashing last year’s record by nearly seven tenths and leaving the other qualifying riders nearly five tenths of a second behind. The ten poles by Spies mean he has now equaled Doug Polen’s 1991 record for the number of pole position starts in a season. Spies also enjoyed a productive earlier qualifying session, continuing to fine tune the set up for tomorrow’s two races, he ended in second behind Michel Fabrizio.
Tom Sykes had worked solidly through qualifying, hitting ninth position by midway. As the session drew to a close he ended with a provisional 13th on the grid in advance of qualifying. An unfortunate crash in free practice in the afternoon session deprived him of his number one bike, throwing the British rider off balance for the Superpole heats. Despite the setback Sykes still made it through to the second Superpole session and will start tomorrow’s two races from 14th position on the grid.
Ben Spies, Yamaha World Superbike Team, (1st, 1’37.709)
“The Superpole lap was a great lap, we’ve spent the weekend and the qualifying sessions working more on race tyres and fuel loads and really looking to make sure the bike is ready come Sunday. Superpole was the first time we really got down to banging out a lap and it was a good one. It’s good to see Johnny is up there again, it’s pretty much the same four guys as last time so it should be a good race. I don’t think anybody is going to be getting away and I think it will be settled in the last few laps. I’m pretty confident with the bike so I’m happy going into Sunday.”
Tom Sykes, Yamaha World Superbike Team (14th, 1’39.361)
“It was a tough day today. We were making good progress in the qualifying session, and were finding improvements to the bike. Unfortunately in the free practice I had a very strange crash, I’m not sure why it happened at all. When we came out on the second bike the set up was completely different and so it was a struggle to get back on the pace. We don’t have an ideal start position from the grid but if we can get off the line well, we can get in there and fight for the front.”
Massimo Meregalli, Yamaha World Superbike Team Manager
” After yesterday we found some good improvements with the bike and Ben managed a really incredible lap, but most importantly we’ve found a really good set up for the race and our tyre choices are ready as well. Tomorrow will be a really tough race but we will be part of the front group and fighting for the win. Unfortunately Tom crashed during the free practice session and his second bike had a very different set up, so he didn’t have as much confidence as with the first bike. He did his best and did manage to achieve the second qualifying session. It will be a tough race for him tomorrow but we know he will give it 100%.”