Czech rider Jakub Smrz took the first provisional pole of 2009 at Phillip Island today, after firing in a last-second fast lap to trounce the opposition. In hot conditions, Smrz put his Guandalini Ducati ahead of the factory Xerox Ducati of Noriyuki Haga. Briton Leon Haslam was third fastest, after setting a time that looked quick enough to clinch pole with just a couple of minutes to go. Behind Haslam's Honda followed the Suzukis of Max Neukirchner and Yukio Kagayama, all within a few hundredths of Haslam.
Shinya Nakano was first of the Aprilias in 6th place, while Ben Spies, who had led the cooler morning session, slipped to 8th place, losing over a tenth of a second in the afternoon. Troy Corser was fastest of the BMW men, taking 16th spot, while Makoto Tamada was the quickest Kawasaki, way down in 18th, and just ahead of his team mate Broc Parkes, and the other BMW of Ruben Xaus. Practice continues tomorrow.
World Superbike QP1 Results
|1||96||J. Smrz||CZE||Ducati 1098R||1'32.312|
|2||41||N. Haga||JPN||Ducati 1098R||1'32.569|
|3||91||L. Haslam||GBR||Honda CBR1000RR||1'32.623|
|4||76||M. Neukirchner||GER||Suzuki GSX-R 1000 K9||1'32.673|
|5||71||Y. Kagayama||JPN||Suzuki GSX-R 1000 K9||1'32.704|
|6||56||S. Nakano||JPN||Aprilia RSV4||1'32.928|
|7||84||M. Fabrizio||ITA||Ducati 1098R||1'32.932|
|8||19||B. Spies||USA||Yamaha YZF R1||1'32.939|
|9||66||T. Sykes||GBR||Yamaha YZF R1||1'32.971|
|10||9||R. Kiyonari||JPN||Honda CBR1000RR||1'32.991|
|11||3||M. Biaggi||ITA||Aprilia RSV4||1'32.995|
|12||55||R. Laconi||FRA||Ducati 1098 RS 09||1'33.202|
|13||44||R. Rolfo||ITA||Honda CBR1000RR||1'33.206|
|14||7||C. Checa||ESP||Honda CBR1000RR||1'33.224|
|15||67||S. Byrne||GBR||Ducati 1098R||1'33.317|
|16||11||T. Corser||AUS||BMW S1000 RR||1'33.377|
|17||65||J. Rea||GBR||Honda CBR1000RR||1'33.418|
|18||100||M. Tamada||JPN||Kawasaki ZX 10R||1'33.709|
|19||23||B. Parkes||AUS||Kawasaki ZX 10R||1'33.911|
|20||111||R. Xaus||ESP||BMW S1000 RR||1'34.080|
|21||33||T. Hill||GBR||Honda CBR1000RR||1'34.123|
|22||25||D. Salom||ESP||Kawasaki ZX 10R||1'34.487|
|23||24||B. Roberts||AUS||Ducati 1098R||1'35.123|
|24||31||K. Muggeridge||AUS||Suzuki GSX-R 1000 K9||1'35.716|
|25||99||L. Scassa||ITA||Kawasaki ZX 10R||1'35.759|
|26||77||V. Iannuzzo||ITA||Honda CBR1000RR||1'36.103|
|27||15||M. Baiocco||ITA||Kawasaki ZX 10R||1'36.514|
|28||86||A. Badovini||ITA||Kawasaki ZX 10R||1'37.127|
It's pretty impressive when a single SECOND (plus 5 thousandths) separates the top 15 riders!
I think it just might be possible for Yamaha and Aprilia to really have something special, right from the start. I'm really excited about both of them. They've both got the right configuration to put down some serious torque out of the corners with the Ducatis, and they should be able to have the revs on the top end with the other "fours".
It's also exciting to have BMW join the series. They've gone and procured the services of two great riders, so they obviously mean business. I must say I'm pretty surprised at their engine and chassis layout, with its really "standard" layout. I thought it might have been at least a little bit quirky, being a BMW.
I can't WAIT to see how the first couple races shake out.
Aprilia is my sentimental favorite (Nakano put in a pretty impressive showing), but I think this first weekend might very well see Haga and Spies at the front.
A big tip of the hat to Smrz, though. Well done.
RACING SEASON IS BACK!!!!!!!!!! HALLELUJAH!!!!!!!!!!!!
Wow. Prescient picks.
Wow. Prescient picks.