Ben Spies thinks he could have gone even faster in qualifying for the second round of the World Superbike Championship in Qatar, but was nonetheless delighted to have secured a second consecutive pole position with a new lap record.
Continuing the remarkable start to his first WSBK season, the Texan kept up the momentum from his pole position and race win in Australia to set a magnificent 1min 57.280secs lap – more than eight tenths quicker than the previous lap record, set by Troy Corser on a Yamaha.
Spies went on to suggest to his rivals that there is much more come from him after claiming to have lost at least two tenths at the start of his record-breaking lap.
Even heading out on track for another attempt to make up for the lost time, Spies eventually decided to settle for what he had already achieved.
“The qualifying tyre had so much grip it surprised me and I missed a shift coming out of a turn,” he said. “I probably lost a couple of tenths right there. Luckily the mistake didn't cost me. That was on our first set of qualifiers.
“I came in and we put on our last set of qualifiers. I came around to see if we were still P1. If we were I was just going to bring it in the garage and if not we were going to step it up a bit. Fortunately our time was good enough to win the pole today.”
Looking ahead to the races, Spies is keen to get a cleaner start from P1 than he managed during the first race in Australia. If we can achieve that, then he is confident he can follow through for victory.
“We've had a good race pace during practice and qualifying and that's the most important part. Putting it on the front row was the first step. Now I go into the races trying to get good starts and stay out of trouble. I think our bike is proving to be good on race tires. I'd like to set a good pace and see where we are and hopefully be in a good position in the end.”
Coming on the weekend he makes his debut around the Losail International Circuit, Spies admits the strength of the new Yamaha R1 is making it much easier to learn new circuits quickly.
“The bike continues to get better and I'm getting more comfortable on it each time,” he added. “That's the big reason I think learning these circuits is coming along so well. I'm comfortable on the bike and if I make a mistake it handles so well that I can lean on it that much harder and make it through a turn.”