Ben Spies delighted his local fans as he became the first man in the history of the World Superbike Championship to score seven consecutive pole positions, at Miller Motorsports Park.

The American was hot favourite to beat Doug Polen's long standing record around his home circuit, Spies defying changeable weather conditions to prove a mammoth half a second faster than his closest rivals.

With rain falling almost as soon as the chequered flag fell on the riders in the final session, Spies gave little away through the knockout phases before unleashing his qualifying tyre in the shootout to put plenty of air between himself and his rivals.

The first time Spies has led a session all weekend, he saved his best for when it mattered, pulling out a 1min 48.344secs lap, well up on Carlos Checa in second position.

Despite the margin between himself and Spies, last year's double winner at Miller will be satisfied with his best qualifying performance of the season, a sentiment shared by his Ten Kate Honda team after Ryuichi Kiyonari put an indifferent run of form behind him to shadow his team-mate in third position on the HRC-liveried bike.

Michel Fabrizio spared some blushes at Ducati Xerox to qualify fourth, although he ruined his chances of going any higher with a big moment on his quickest lap. Nonetheless, it was enough to get him ahead of Jakub Smrz on the giant-killing - over a single lap at least - Guandalini machine.

A typically close qualifying session that had the added element of unpredictable weather, it was a smattering of precipitation during the final few minutes of Q2 that ensured some big names were missing from action during the shootout.

Chief amongst those was championship leader Noriyuki Haga. Although not seemingly suffering from the after-effects of his massive accident during second qualifying earlier in the day, Haga seemingly hoped to be safe in eighth position when conditions deteriorated slightly.

However, a superb last gasp effort in risky conditions by Shane Byrne was enough to demote his Ducati counterpart out of contention and allow him to make the shootout for the first time this season. This was despite having crashed during Q1, forcing him to revert to his spare Sterilgarda bike.

The only rider to make a big improvement in the closing stages of Q2, those who put in an early flying lap were rewarded with a spot in the shootout, most significantly Kawasaki, who not only made their first shootout appearance this year, but they managed it with both Broc Parkes and Jamie Hacking.

Hacking had been the revelation up to that point, even setting the fastest lap time in Q1, while his momentum carried through into Q2 to join Parkes in the final reckoning. Although their lack of qualification rubber consigned them to an eventual seventh and eighth, Parkes leading Hacking, it completes an excellent day for the manufacturer following Joan Lascorz's Supersport pole position.

Beyond Byrne, the session proved to be tough for Britain's other Superpole participants Jonathan Rea and Leon Haslam, the pair choosing not to try and improve as the clouds began to gather, leaving them 11th and 12th on the grid.

Others missing out included Friday pace setter Max Biaggi, who crashed his Aprilia RSV-4 heavily in Q2. Although he was able to sprint back in time to beat the clock, he couldn't beat the weather, leaving him a lowly 16th on the grid behind Yukio Kagayama, Fonsi Nieto and Luca Scassa.

Prior to that there were no big surprises during the opening knockout phase, with Gregorio Lavilla, David Salom and Lorenzo Lanzi maintaining their places in the provisional drop zone to qualify 17th, 18th and 19th, although Karl Muggeridge did suffer a big drop from tenth to 20th.

Both BMWs and Yamaha's Tom Sykes missed out on a chance at Superpole after failing to provisionally qualify inside the top twenty.


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