Ben Spies is expecting a competitive battle for victory come race day after claiming a fourth consecutive World Superbike pole position for the latest round at Assen.
Taking just over a day to stamp his authority around a circuit he has never competed on before, Spies has been the man to beat for much of the weekend, topping three of the four sessions leading up to qualifying before breaking the lap record in Superpole.
Showing once again the strength of both himself and the Yamaha R1 over a single-lap, Spies was sixth tenths quicker than key rival Noriyuki Haga, although the Ducati rider will start alongside him on the front row in fourth regardless.
Indeed, having seen Haga overturn his pole position advantage in Valencia to win both races, Spies says he is pleased with the progress of his race durability and, while he expects the fight for victory to be tight, he is confident he can prevail.
“It went well, four in a row is good for us – I just wish they gave out points for this,” he joked. “However, it's still an advantage.
"The qualifying session was good for us. We went out and worked on race set-up. We were out on tyres from yesterday and stayed on them for the whole session so we could get used to the tyres when they start to go off. I was able to turn some really fast laps at the end over race distance so I'm really happy with the way the bike's working after the tyres go off.
“The bike is working well, the team is making headway on it and it is getting better with every session. It will be a good battle tomorrow - hopefully we can be out front.”