Having maintained a quiet presence in the wet yesterday, title rivals Noriyuki Haga and Ben Spies resumed their tussle at the head of the Nurburgring timesheets after taking advantage of dry conditions for the second round of World Superbike qualifying.

The pair were the men to beat throughout the session, with Spies shrugging off a lacklustre 13th position at the end of day one to lead the way for much of the time before a flurry of quick laps late on would see Haga emerge on top.

Just a tenth would separate the two as they head into Superpole, where the championship leader will look to prevent Spies from reaching double figures in the number of pole positions he has achieved in 2009.

Leading a top four that mirrors the overall standings, Michel Fabrizio and Jonathan Rea kept close company in third and fourth on their respective Ducati Xerox and Ten Kate Honda machines, while Tom Sykes continued to show encouraging form on the second of the Yamaha's.

Shane Byrne recovered from an off-track excursion to maintain his comfortable top ten presence in sixth, with Carlos Checa behind in seventh and Karl Muggeridge in eighth, the Australian proving impressive on his maiden outing with Suzuki Alstare Brux.

Leon Haslam ran at the front of the field for a time before slipping to ninth, while Broc Parkes completed the top ten as he and Kawasaki team-mate Makoto Tamada comfortably qualified for Superpole.

Elsewhere, with the much improved conditions ensuring each rider improved on their provisional laps immediately, there was a clean slate for those battling in and around the crucial top twenty mark.

Despite being on the cusp for much of the session, John Hopkins and Troy Corser did just enough to scrape through to Superpole, as did Vittorio Iannuzzo, the perennial back marker enjoying comfortably his best ever qualifying session in 18th to reach the shootout for the first time.

By contrast, there were some surprise omissions, most notably Shinya Nakano on the factory Aprilia, the Japanese rider being bumped down to a disastrous 22nd. Meanwhile, Luca Scassa tumbled from a provisional tenth in the wet to 25th, while Richard Cooper couldn't replicate his form in the dry as he had to settle for 26th on the BMW.

Others to miss out included Matteo Baiocco, David Salom, David Checa and Roland Resch.

Superpole takes place later today at 14.00GMT


Join the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register to add your comment