Friday, March 13, 2009
Biaggi starts 3rd at Qatar, Nakano 6th
After dominating the two WSBK qualifying sessions, Ben Spies (Yamaha World Superbike) powered to the same result in Superpole with his second success in two races. The 24 year-old Texan lapped the 5.380 km Losail desert circuit in a time of 1 minute 57.280 seconds, almost eight-tenths of a second quicker than Troy Corser's best mark from 2008. The starting-grid was similar to the opening round in Australia, but this time Jakub Smrz on a customer Guandalini Ducati 1098R placed second, a fraction of a second behind Spies, and ahead of Max Biaggi (Aprilia Racing) in third. The front row of the grid was completed by Noriyuki Haga (Ducati Xerox), who managed to move up to a fourth place slot following two below-par qualifying sessions.
With fifth place on the grid, Tom Sykes (Yamaha World Superbike) confirmed that the four-cylinder Japanese R1 machine is proving to be a very competitive machine indeed this year, and the British rider will start tomorrow's two 18-lap races with Japan's Shinya Nakano (Aprilia Racing), Spain's Carlos Checa (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) and Shane Byrne (Sterilgarda Ducati) from the UK alongside.
Max Biaggi (Aprilia Racing): "I'm very happy again to be fighting for the pole position, I think we did a very good job today. We tried to find the best set-up on both bikes, and I'm going to chose the one that feels the most comfortable. I have already made my tyre choice and feel quite comfortable so thanks again to my squad, they are great guys."