Valencia, Spain

2009 WSBK Valencia Superpole - Pole Man Takes It By Nearly Three Quarters Of A Second

Only 19 riders started the Superpole session at Valencia, Shinya Nakano having qualified for the session, but unable to participate after breaking his collarbone. During the first 12 minute session, tactics were mixed, with some riders choosing to use one of their two qualifiers, to ensure they got another shot at a decent grid position. For Ruben Xaus that didn't work out well, crashing out on a fast lap before he had the chance to set a time good enough to qualify.

But Xaus wasn't the only big name to be dropped at the first time of asking: both Aprilia's Max Biaggi and Yamaha's Tom Sykes couldn't set times fast enough to get into Superpole 2, and will start from the 5th row of the grid.

Out after Superpole 1: Biaggi, Sykes, Xaus

Ben Spies set the fastest time in Superpole 2, in just a single fast lap. Remarkably, on his slowdown lap, he ran wide and off the track, and was forced to abandon his bike and run back to the pits. There were a lot of people pushing during the session, as Nori Haga almost came a cropper, having a big wobble round the back of the circuit, and Shakey Byrne crashed out while on a very fast lap, having set the 2nd fastest time at the first intermediate point.

Newcomer John Hopkins struggled a little with the qualifying format, finishing 16th, although a couple of fast laps were ruined when the rear started sliding round Valencia's notoriously tricky long downhill left hander before the final turn. 

Out after Superpole 2: Ryuichi Kiyonari, Leon Haslam, Jakub Smrz, Shakey Byrne, Broc Parkes, Troy Corser, Brendan Roberts, John Hopkins

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2009 WSBK FP2 Results - Biaggi Back In Charge

In the final session of free practice before Superpole, Max Biaggi set the fastest time on the Aprilia, with this morning's fastest man Ben Spies forced down in third. But the big surprise was the man who as second fastest: Leon Haslam hasn't been able to crack into the top ten so far this weekend, but in this session, the Stiggy Racing rider chopped 4/10ths of his best time so far, coming painfully close to cracking into the 1'34s. Finding that much speed just 15 minutes before Superpole is due to start will be a useful leg up for Haslam.

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2009 WSS Valencia Qualifying Results

Going into the qualifying practice session for the World Supersport class, the outcome seemed like a foregone conclusion. In both free practice sessions, local hero Joan Lascorz had ripped up the timesheets, far and away the fastest rider at the track. And at the start of qualifying, this pattern looked like being repeated, with the Motocard Kawasaki man taking the lead from the off. And as the session progressed, Lascorz kept chipping away, extending his lead over the chasing pack.

The pole looked to be in the bag, but Lascorz hadn't counted on the wiles of Yamaha's Cal Crutchlow. In the dying minutes of the session, the Briton put in two blistering laps to smash Lascorz' pole record from 2008, and take pole for himself, with an exceptional lap of 1'35.865, pushing Lascorz down to 2nd on the grid. But as has been the case all weekend, Crutchlow and Lascorz have been a cut above the rest of the field, with third place man Ant West nearly 8/10ths behind Lascorz on the Stiggy Honda. Lascorz' Motocard Kawasaki team mate Katsuaki Fujiwara completes the front row of the grid.

The session was a troubled one for several riders, with Andrew Pitt, Eugene Laverty, Matej Smrz, Joan Lascorz and Doni Tata Pradita all crashing out, Pitt managing to do so three times. The time lost to crash damage left Pitt down in 9th, heading up the third row of the grid, two places ahead of his Ten Kate team mate Kenan Sofuoglu. Clearly, Ten Kate is still having teething problems with the 2009 CBR600RR. Winner of the last race Laverty, meanwhile, will start from 13th.

Full results of the qualifying practice session for the World Supersport round at Valencia:

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2009 WSBK Valencia QP2 Result - Spies Edges Laconi For Provisional Pole

Ben Spies confirmed his form by taking provisional pole position at Valencia this morning, putting him in prime position for Superpole this afternoon. But Spies took top spot by just a fraction, Regis Laconi getting his DFX Corse Ducati to within 5/1000ths of a second of Spies' Yamaha, and pushing Max Biaggi's Aprilia down to third.

The session was a difficult one for the Aprilias, with Shinya Nakano's Aprilia blowing a seal and spewing oil all over the track, causing the session to be red flagged briefly to clean it up. Even worse for Nakano, the oil on his back tire caused the Japanese rider to highside nastily, breaking his left collarbone in the process and ruling him out of the rest of the weekend. Biaggi fared little better, being sidelined twice with technical problems.

The BMWs, on the other hand, showed some signs of improving, Troy Corser jumping up to 6th place in the standings, ahead of Ducati's Noriyuki Haga, who was unable to improve his time from yesterday. 

The problem is that the times are so close that a couple of hundredths can move riders up or down the standings several places. Team Pedercini's David Salom is the first rider to be over a second behind Spies' time, but this leaves him down in 21st place, and out of Superpole. Series newcomer John Hopkins is just 0.847 off Spies, and has only just scraped into Superpole. But on a new bike and new tires, and after having ridden the bike for little more than an hour before arriving at Valencia, that's not bad going, especially as he is just over 1/10th behind his team mate Leon Haslam.

The final grid positions will be determined by this afternoon's Superpole session, scheduled to kick off at 3pm.

Aggregate World Superbike result after QP2:

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2009 WSS Valencia FP2 Result - Lascorz Takes Top Spot, But Has To Work

Joan Lascorz continued his domination at Valencia during the second session of free practice. In the cool of the morning, the Spanish Kawasaki man led for much of the session, but Britain's Cal Crutchlow kept Lascorz honest, taking over the top spot for the latter part of practice. Lascorz then pulled out a record-breaking lap in the last minutes of practice to take back top spot. Lascorz finished a third of a second ahead of Crutchlow.

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Ten Kate Lose Interest In Moto2 Over Single Engine Proposal

When the Moto2 class was announced, the purpose behind the series was immediately clear. The introduction of a 20,000 euro engine claiming rule and the emphasis on a prototype chassis was aimed at tempting private companies into the series to build chassis for lightly tweaked production engines. After years of Aprilia being able to pick and choose winners by deciding who to supply with factory-spec 250s, and often ending up with the highest bidder, something had to be done about reducing the price of competing in MotoGP's support class.

And after the rules were announced, a number of teams and chassis builders showed an interest in the class, just as Dorna and the FIM had predicted and hoped. There was, however, a rather large fly in the ointment. The elephant in the room during all these announcements was the agreement that FGSport - now Infront Motor Sports - claims to have with the FIM, giving them the monopoly on world championship racing with production motorcycles, and allowing Dorna to race with prototypes. 

At the IRTA tests in Jerez, the FIM and Dorna shocked the motorcycle racing world by announcing a possible solution to this thorny problem: the MSMA had proposed that a single engine supplier be appointed for the class, eliminating the most costly part of running a bike in the class. A sensible proposal, and realistically the only way around the problem of using production engines, but the proposal has also had the unfortunate effect of scaring off the very people the class was intended to attract. 

The Ten Kate team, for example, had previously indicated that they were very interested in the series. But the single engine proposal had changed their minds. MotoGPMatters.com cornered Ronald and Gerrit ten Kate of the Ten Kate Honda team about the new proposals, and asked their opinion.

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