Spies breaks record for Miller pole

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.

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Ducman1198 - Unregistered

May 31, 2009 12:01 AM

It was also reported that Spies is close to a new deal with the Yamaha WSBK team. He said he was really happy with his team so i don't see him going to MotoGP. Besides WSBK is leaps and bounds better then MotoGP this year. GP is a lame duck in my opinion. The GSVR is not a race winning bike neither is the Tech3 Yamaha. So stay on a bike that u can win on and a series that's deep with competition. 19 riders is not deep. If hes smart he will stay in WSBK.

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