WSBK » 20 June 2009
Smrz takes stunning maiden pole at Misano
Jakub Smrz has become the first person, other than Ben Spies, to score a World Superbike Championship pole position in 2009 after a stunning performance during Superpole at Misano.
Ending Spies' record-breaking run of seven consecutive pole positions, Smrz's effort of 1min 35.434secs was enough to see off pre-Superpole favourites Spies and Jonathan Rea by a comfortable margin.
Both his and the privateer Guandalini Ducati team's first ever pole position in World Superbikes, Smrz will start ahead of Rea, Spies and Michel Fabrizio.
Having struggled with set-up problems throughout day one, Smrz shrugged off his provisional 13th place qualifying position to ease into the top eight shootout, his first effort proving enough to get him through without requiring the use of another qualifying tyre.
It meant he was able to tackle Fabrizio and Spies, who traded quick times in the early stages of the session, his second effort, which included an outstanding final sector time, pushing him ahead of Spies and into pole position with around five minutes remaining.
Rea followed on the road, but while he had the edge on Smrz during the opening two sectors, he lost out during the final phase to slot in some two tenths adrift of the Ducati.
Spies, meanwhile, couldn't make progress beyond third and was then left without enough time to re-enter the pit lane, take on new tyres and get back around before the chequered flag was deployed for the end of the session.
Cueing jubilant scenes in the Pierfrancesco Chili managed team's garage, while this marks Smrz's fourth front row start of the season, this is the first time the former grand prix racer has climbed onto the top spot.
Rea starts second, but will be disappointed to have missed out on pole position having gone fastest in free practice prior to Superpole, before topping both knockout sessions ahead of the shootout. Nonetheless, second marks his best ever WSBK starting position and it was done with his revised Ohlins-equipped Ten Kate Honda.
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