25 July 2009
Spies closes on Biaggi benchmark
Max Biaggi continues to lead the way heading into Superpole for the tenth round of the World Superbike Championship at Brno, despite failing to improve on his fastest lap time in final qualification.
Having been the only rider to breach the two minute benchmark during provisional qualifying, Biaggi's effort would not be matched at the second attempt either, keeping the Italian in charge ahead of the pole position shootout.
Biaggi himself was only tenth quickest during the session, more than seven tenths down on his leading time, with Ben Spies instead moving to the front with a lap of 2mins 00.043secs.
Enough to slot into a provisional second position behind Biaggi, Spies had close company in Jakub Smrz, who catapulted his way up from a lowly 14th to third after an impressive effort in the closing stages.
Taking over as the top Ducati rider, Smrz slotted in ahead of Michel Fabrizio, the Italian proving one of several competitors that wouldn't go quicker than their provisional efforts in this session. Similarly, Carlos Checa didn't go faster but held onto a top five spot in fifth, although British pair Shane Byrne and Tom Sykes in sixth and eighth represented a significant gain on their overnight positions.
Troy Corser and Broc Parkes, who fell shortly before the end of the session, maintained a BMW and Kawasaki presence inside the top ten, while their team-mates, Ruben Xaus and Makoto Tamada, also make it through to Superpole this afternoon in 13th and 20th respectively. It is the first time this season that Tamada has made it through to the shootout.
In addition, Noriyuki Haga will live to fight another day after squeezing through with the 18th fastest time overall having also failed to go any quicker.
Of those missing out on the chance to appear again, Fonsi Nieto, making his debut for DFX Ducati this weekend, was edged out by Matthieu Lagrive late on. He will be joined on the sidelines by David Salom, Luca Scassa, Vittorio Iannuzzo, Alex Polita, David Checa, Roland Resch and local wild-card Milos Cihak.
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