It’s the qualifying session we’ve all been waiting for: the last Superpole of the 2009 season at Portimao, Portugal. A vetting process for tomorrow’s races, today’s Superpole gives us a glimpse into how this amazing season might end. How close would Ben Spies and Noriyuki Haga be on the starting line come Sunday? Who would be faster? By what margin? And lastly, would Ben Spies be able to take the outright pole record for World Superbike racing? Those answers after the jump.
Starting with our last question first, we’ll save you the trouble of scrolling down, and just come right out with the fact that Ben Spies will be sitting at the #1 position of tomorrow’s grid. Winning the Superpole by over half a second, Spies has once again taken the pole position in a World Supebike, making that 11 pole starts this season, which sets a new record. Speaking of records, Spies’ qualifying time is also now the fastest that anyone has lapped at the Portimao track. Two birds in one stroke, maybe there is something to the Spies method.
While that would be big news on its own merit, the bigger story from Portimao has been the noticeable struggling of Noriyuki Haga. Almost a second off the pace, Haga was unable to even make it into the final Superpole round, and will thus start from the 10th position on the grid. The Japanese rider will have to fight from the third row if he wants to catch the ever elusive World Superbike Championship title, that has twice evaded his capture.
Haga will also have to contend with a very fast field of rivals if he wants to gain on Spies during the races. Johnny Rea and Max Biaggi have been very quick all week, and Haga’s own teammate, Michel Fabrizio found a way to get his Ducati 1098R to fast around the Portuguese track. Perhaps this might bode well for Haga, who can build off his teammate’s settings, but judging from the way Fabrizio has ridden all year, the Italian is more than likely to make Haga earn every corner, and every pass. Still Fabrizio has said he will do whatever he can to help Haga win the Championship, which we hope doesn’t mean crashing into Spies again.
It doesn’t matter who you’re rooting for, we guarantee you’ll be on your chair tomorrow yelling at the television while the 2009 WSBK season concludes itself. Here in the States, The SPEED Channel is listing its WSBK races as being televised from 3-5pm EST, with 250GP and MotoGP following right afterward.
Superpole Results from World Superbike at Portimao, Portugal:
|1||19||B. Spies||Yamaha YZF R1||1’42.412||-|
|2||67||S. Byrne||Ducati 1098R||1’42.996||0.584|
|3||84||M. Fabrizio||Ducati 1098R||1’43.015||0.603|
|4||65||J. Rea||Honda CBR1000RR||1’43.126||0.714|
|5||91||L. Haslam||Honda CBR1000RR||1’43.523||1.111|
|6||3||M. Biaggi||Aprilia RSV4 Factory||1’43.526||1.114|
|7||10||F. Nieto||Ducati 1098R||1’43.553||1.141|
|8||11||T. Corser||BMW S1000 RR||1’44.719||2.307|
|Out after Superpole 2|
|9||96||J. Smrz||Ducati 1098R||1’43.240||0.672|
|10||41||N. Haga||Ducati 1098R||1’43.377||0.809|
|11||50||S. Guintoli||Suzuki GSX-R 1000 K9||1’43.406||0.838|
|12||7||C. Checa||Honda CBR1000RR||1’43.461||0.893|
|13||22||L. Camier||Aprilia RSV4 Factory||1’43.671||1.103|
|14||71||Y. Kagayama||Suzuki GSX-R 1000 K9||1’43.717||1.149|
|15||100||M. Tamada||Kawasaki ZX 10R||1’44.050||1.482|
|16||15||M. Baiocco||Ducati 1098R||1’45.439||2.871|
|Out after Superpole 1|
|17||14||M. Lagrive||Honda CBR1000RR||1’44.453||1.397|
|18||23||B. Parkes||Kawasaki ZX 10R||1’44.458||1.402|
|19||111||R. Xaus||BMW S1000 RR||1’44.483||1.427|
|20||99||L. Scassa||Kawasaki ZX 10R||1’44.851||1.795|