An exciting final Superpole qualifying session saw the World Superbike championship protagonists battle for the top spot in the waning seconds, with Ducati Xerox’s Michel Fabrizio grabbing the first pole position of his career by a mere 0.043 seconds. The rider in control for most of the Superpole “knockout” qualifying sessions, though, was championship leader Ben Spies. After laying down a 1:48.8 on a race tire to take the second spot in the opening session, the qualifiers came out for the second round, where Yamaha’s Spies shaved 0.6 seconds off his time, dropping to 1.48.2 and a pass through to the final round. As the heat drew to a close Spies put in an incredible last lap, and despite coming off the racing line for the last two corners still managing a 1.47.778, which was just beaten by Fabrizio. Hanspree Ten Kate Honda’s Jonathan Rea and Fabrizio’s teammate Nori Haga complete the front row.
Ducati's Michel Fabrizio just...
Ducati's Michel Fabrizio just managed to steal pole position from Ben Spies by 0.043 seconds at Imola.
“I am extremely happy to take my first Superpole, and happier still to do it here at Imola on the Ducati,” gushed Fabrizio. “I really wanted it and, after Ben took it from me by a thousandth of a second back at Kyalami, this time I just took it from him. I was quite surprised because I thought they’d cut my time but then I saw the screen and saw my name in first place! Tomorrow will nevertheless be very tough because Ben and Johnny obviously have a good race pace and so I’m expecting some close racing between the guys on the front row.”
Despite a slight mistake on...
Despite a slight mistake on his final flying lap during Superpole qualifying that resulted in him running off the track a bit, Spies still missed pole position by 0.043 seconds.
Spies wasn’t too disappointed about his day overall. “Qualifying was OK for us today, we tried some different tires to yesterday and brought the times down a bit. The track definitely has more grip on it now so it’s getting better and better for Sunday.” Being on the front row was more important to Spies than pole position. “It was a good Superpole session, although I kind of blew it on the last section of my last flying lap and it cost us. We’re on the front row and that’s where we need to be so I’m looking forward to the race tomorrow. It’s going to be a tough couple of races with a lot of guys up there so we’re going to be banging around and having some fun which is what it’s all about.”
Honda's Jonathan Rea will...
Honda's Jonathan Rea will be looking to carry the momentum from his last victory at Nurburgring to Imola tomorrow
Rea was also more concerned with race setup than qualifying position. “I didn't really use the qualifier to its best effect in the first couple of laps and I wanted to go out and try again but fell short a little bit. The pace out there was fast today and, when I wanted to have another go, there just wasn't enough tire left. But we've got a good race set-up for tomorrow and the guys have done a marvellous job. We've had so many new things to try and every week the package gets better and better. So, a big thanks to them, well done to Michel and Ben and I'm sure the racing will be pretty good tomorrow.”
Ducati's Nori Haga will be...
Ducati's Nori Haga will be looking to go all out to claw back some of the points lead currently enjoyed by Yamaha's Ben Spies.
Occupying the last position on the front row was Haga, who is looking to go all out in order to claw back the points lead enjoyed by Spies. “We’ve gone well today and there are just a couple of small problems suspension-wise,” revealed Haga, “but we know the direction to take so it should all be fixed before the races. I just feel that I missed out by not participating in the tests but, anyway, a place on the front row is very positive and I feel I did a good job today. I’m going to get my shoulder looked at this evening so that I’m in a position to give 200% tomorrow.”
- 1. Michel Fabrizio (ITA) Ducati 1:47.735
- 2. Ben Spies (USA) Yamaha 1:47.778
- 3. Jonathan Rea (IRL) Honda 1:47.834
- 4. Noriyuki Haga (JPN) Ducati 1:47.885
- 5. Jakub Smrz (CZE) Ducati 1:48.156
- 6. Max Biaggi (ITA) Aprilia 1:48.665
- 7. Shane Byrne (GBR) Ducati 1:49.092
- 8. Marco Simoncelli (ITA) Aprilia 1:49.338
- 9. Troy Corser (AUS) BMW 1:48.971
- 10. Leon Haslam (GBR) Honda 1:48.992