Ben Spies' hopes of continuing his perfect run of World Superbike pole positions looked in jeopardy when he was forced to park his number one Yamaha after a technical problem during Superpole 2 at Valencia on Saturday.

It meant that the American rookie went into the top eight shootout on his unfamiliar spare bike, but the change ended up being a blessing in disguise as the set-up of that machine turned out to be better than on his preferred R1.

"Yeah I was actually a little worried about [the bike change]," Spies said afterwards. "We had an okay second Superpole but coming in we had a problem with the bike and had to switch to the back-up bike.

"It had a different set-up on it, that I didn't get to try in free practice, so I was a little but worried going into the third Superpole.

"Luckily I think we found a little time with the change so I'm looking forward to trying it again in the morning [warm-up] and seeing if we can get a little more speed out of it."

Spies set a record-breaking 1min 33.270sec lap on his back-up bike, placing the AMA champion a massive 0.685sec clear of nearest rival Regis Laconi (DFX Ducati) for a perfect third Superpole victory in a row.

"I'm especially pleased winning the pole here at Valencia," said Spies. "This track has definitely favored the Ducatis and my goal coming in was to simply qualify somewhere in the top five.

"To be able to set the pole on this type of circuit gives me a lot of confidence. Doing what we were able to do today makes me feel much better about my prospects for the rest of the season."

The three-time AMA Superbike champion also mentioned that 30 laps of testing on the track two years, with the Rizla Suzuki MotoGP team, had helped. Valencia will be one of the few circuits all season that Spies has previously ridden.

Championship leader Noriyuki Haga, the only rider other than Spies to win a WSBK race this year courtesy of his season-opening victory at Phillip Island, qualified in third position, 0.812sec from Spies.

"Even though we were able to turn in a good time today I definitely expect to have my hands full in the races tomorrow," Spies concluded. "You can see by qualifying, with the Ducatis taking the next three spots behind me, that I'll face a major challenge."

Haga's Ducati Xerox team-mate Michel Fabrizio will complete the front row, while Aprilia's Max Biaggi - who battled with Spies and Haga last time out in Qatar - suffered a disastrous Superpole.

The Roman, fastest in first qualifying and then second free practice, was eliminated in Superpole 1 and will start just 18th on the grid.


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