WSBK: Spies wins Losail Superpole

American rider fastest on completely unfamiliar track

By Motorcycle.Com Staff, Mar. 13, 2009
Ben Spies has won his second consecutive Superpole and will head the starting grid at the March 14 World Superbike double-header in Qatar.

Spies topped the time sheet in all preliminary qualifying and practice sessions at the Losail circuit in Doha, Qatar before winning the Superpole by a tenth of a second. The Yamaha factory rider also won the Superpole at the WSBK season opener in Australia’s Phillip Island circuit before earning a victory in race two. Earning the Superpole in Qatar was more impressive than it was in Australia because Spies didn’t have the benefit of a test session at Losail as he had at Phillip Island. Losail is a completely foreign circuit for Spies yet the three-time AMA Superbike Champion has been consistently fast.

“The most important thing is being on the front row with this many fast guys. I almost ruined my lap but we eventually got the job done,” says Spies. “Race pace is looking promising, which is important but I feel sure it’s going to be a hard race tomorrow. You still have to search for the speed and find the limit in Superpole, I don’t know anything different, it’s the only one I’ve done but it’s working well for me so far.”

With two Superpoles and a race victory under his belt, Spies is demonstrating why many predicted he will be a serious title contender in his first WSBK season.

Ben Spies was consistantly fast at Losail despite never having previously raced on the circuit.
Ben Spies (center) won the Superpole while Jakub Smrz (left) will start second and Max Biaggi third.

Guandalini Ducati’s Jakub Smrz will be second on the Losail grid. As he did in Phillip Island where he started fourth, the privateer qualified ahead of all other Ducati riders including the factory team of Noriyuki Haga and Michel Fabrizio.

“We have made a really good weekend, now we still have the race to do, but we have a good set-up and for us the times are very positive,” says Smrz. “I was also working well in Superpole because there wasn’t much traffic, I didn’t catch anyone and I was able to do my best.”

Max Biaggi will also start on the front row for the second consecutive race. The Italian veteran qualified third in Qatar and second in Australia for the new Aprilia Racing team.

“I’m very happy again to be fighting for the pole position, I think we did a very good job today,” says Biaggi. “We tried to find the best set-up on both bikes, and I’m going to choose the one that feels the most comfortable. I have already made my tire choice and feel quite comfortable so thanks again to my squad, they are great guys.”

Haga, the current series leader, will complete the front row in fourth, a large improvement from Phillip Island where the Ducati Xerox rider qualified 13th.

“It was a much better Superpole for me than in Australia and I am very happy to be on the front row of the grid,” says Haga. “We had a little problem today but managed to sort that and now I am sure that tomorrow we will go very well in the races.”


2009 WSBK Losail Superpole
Pos. Rider Bike Time
1st Ben Spies Yamaha YZF-R1 1:57.280
2nd Jakub Smrz Ducati 1098R 1:57.384
3rd Max Biaggi Aprilia RSV4 1:57.694
4th Noriyuki Haga Ducati 1098R 1:57.850
5th Tom Sykes Yamaha YZF-R1 1:57.878
6th Shinya Nakano Aprilia RSV4 1:58.755
7th Carlo Checa Honda CBR1000RR 1:59.090
8th Shane Byrne Ducati 1098R 2:00.021
9th Roberto Rolfo Honda CBR1000RR 1:58.734
10th Michel Fabrizio Ducati 1098R 1:58.919
11th Regis Laconi Ducati 1098R 1:59.044
12th Ryuichi Kiyonari Honda CBR1000RR 1:59.055
13th Broc Parkes Kawasaki ZX-10R 1:59.074
14th Yukio Kagayama Suzuki GSX-R1000 1:59.134
15th Ruben Xaus BMW S1000RR 1:59.435
16th Troy Corser BMW S1000RR 1:59.454
17th Jonathan Rea Honda CBR1000RR 1:59.713
18th Leon Haslem Honda CBR1000RR 1:59.882
19th Max Neukirchner Suzuki GSX-R1000 1:59.926
20th Tommy Hil Honda CBR1000RR 2:00.108

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