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Rea continues to set Portimao pace

Jonathan Rea goes fastest again at Portimao, while Noriyuki Haga and Ben Spies are split by less than a tenth.
Jonathan Rea is well placed to challenge for his first pole position in World Superbikes after clinging onto first place during the second and final qualifying session at Portimao.

Having just missed out on pole position on a number of occasions this year, although Rea was quickly ousted at the top of the timesheets as Q2 got underway, he regained the spot by halfway point with a lap of 1min 43.458secs.

That time would prove fast enough to keep his rivals at arm's length to the chequered flag, the Northern Irishman's closest competition coming from Italian pair Michel Fabrizio and Max Biaggi, one and three tenths adrift respectively.

Despite failing to improve on his provisional lap time, Jakub Smrz remains on the front row for Guandalini Ducati, just ahead of title contenders Noriyuki Haga and Ben Spies, the Japanese rider edging ahead of his rival heading to Superpole.

Indeed, Spies did not lower his provisional time at all during the session, the American settling for tenth in Q2, but holding on to sixth overall. Haga, meanwhile, lapped consistently before eking ahead of Spies by just seven hundredths of a second for fifth position.

British pair Shane Byrne and Leon Haslam complete the provisional second row in seventh and eighth, while Carlos Checa and Fonsi Nieto ensured there were no new faces breaching the top ten between Q1 and Q2.

Elsewhere, Luca Scassa was a fine 11th quickest to ease into Superpole on the privateer Pedercini Kawasaki, ahead of each of the factory Kawasaki, BMW and Suzuki riders.

Despite this, all three manufacturers will be fully represented in Superpole after getting each of its riders into the top twenty, most notably debutant Sylvain Guintoli, who recovered from an initial non-qualification position to go a solid 17th fastest on the Suzuki Alstare.

However, there was disappointment for Yamaha's Tom Sykes, who will not participate in Superpole after qualifying a lowly 21st. The Briton, who this week confirmed a switch to Kawasaki in 2010, has been suffering with a painful shoulder following his two mammoth accidents at Magny-Cours.




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