We typically don’t cover the Free Practice/Qualifying sessions in World Superbike, but considering that the entire season will come down to Sunday’s race, we’re making an exception. With QP1 in the bag already at Portimao, we get some insight into how the grid could come together for the last race of the WSBK season, and the results might surprise some people. More after the jump.
Before we get ahead of ourseleves, let’s be clear that there is still another qualifying practice session on Saturday, before the Superpole event takes place, so there’s still a great deal more shuffling that can occur on the WSBK starting grid. Still, the results are compelling for a Ben Spies victory on Sunday.
With Johnny Rea on the provisional pole, Spies trails the Honda rider by under a tenth of a second, and is provisionally 3rd right now. Better yet for the American rider, points rival Noriyuki Haga is swamped back in 9th place, and almost half a second behind Rea. In order to be competitive on Sunday, Haga will have to find an extra 4/10ths of a second per lap in order to keep a wheel on Spies.
Ben Spies needs to win both races this weekend in order to clinch the World Superbike Championship. A “double” on Sunday would mean that regardless of how Haga finishes Spies would either tie or beat Haga in the point standings. Tie-breakers in WSBK are decided on the number of race wins, which Spies has 15, while Haga has 8, meaning the Championship would go to Spies if he ties Haga in points at the end of Sunday’s race.
With the MotoGP Championship likely to be clinched at Sepang this weekend as well, Sunday should be an epic event of racing for motorcycle enthusiasts. We can’t wait.
QP1 Results from World Superbike at Portimao, Portugal:
|1||65||J. Rea||Honda CBR1000RR||1’43.786||–|
|2||96||J. Smrz||Ducati 1098R||1’43.866||0.080|
|3||19||B. Spies||Yamaha YZF R1||1’43.870||0.084|
|4||7||C. Checa||Honda CBR1000RR||1’43.945||0.159|
|5||67||S. Byrne||Ducati 1098R||1’43.947||0.161|
|6||10||F. Nieto||Ducati 1098R||1’44.005||0.219|
|7||84||M. Fabrizio||Ducati 1098R||1’44.154||0.368|
|8||3||M. Biaggi||Aprilia RSV4 Factory||1’44.210||0.424|
|9||41||N. Haga||Ducati 1098R||1’44.254||0.468|
|10||91||L. Haslam||Honda CBR1000RR||1’44.324||0.538|
|11||71||Y. Kagayama||Suzuki GSX-R 1000 K9||1’44.674||0.888|
|12||111||R. Xaus||BMW S1000 RR||1’44.822||1.036|
|13||11||T. Corser||BMW S1000 RR||1’44.830||1.044|
|14||23||B. Parkes||Kawasaki ZX 10R||1’44.963||1.177|
|15||100||M. Tamada||Kawasaki ZX 10R||1’44.977||1.191|
|16||99||L. Scassa||Kawasaki ZX 10R||1’45.077||1.291|
|17||14||M. Lagrive||Honda CBR1000RR||1’45.133||1.347|
|18||66||T. Sykes||Yamaha YZF R1||1’45.239||1.453|
|19||22||L. Camier||Aprilia RSV4 Factory||1’45.333||1.547|
|20||15||M. Baiocco||Ducati 1098R||1’45.345||1.559|
|21||25||D. Salom||Kawasaki ZX 10R||1’45.390||1.604|
|22||50||S. Guintoli||Suzuki GSX-R 1000 K9||1’45.508||1.722|
|23||9||R. Kiyonari||Honda CBR1000RR||1’45.676||1.890|
|24||77||V. Iannuzzo||Honda CBR1000RR||1’46.512||2.726|
|25||94||D. Checa||Yamaha YZF R1||1’46.775||2.989|
|26||88||R. Resch||Suzuki GSX-R 1000 K9||1’47.961||4.175|