Regardless of whether he will go down as having claimed the World Superbike title in his rookie season, Ben Spies will graduate to MotoGP with one more record firmly in his grasp after completing a record number of pole positions in a single season.
The American's performances over a single lap have been mesmerising at times this season, his run of seven consecutive pole positions at the beginning of the year already breaking one record by the mid-way point in the season.
While he wasn't able to keep the successive run up to the end of the season, pole position at the Portimao season finale brings his tally up to 11 in just 14 races, putting him clear of Polen's existing 18-year-old record.
Potentially the most important pole position of his career as he looks to clinch the 2009 world title, Spies is delighted to have another chance to get his name in the history books, despite his short WSBK tenure.
“Winning the record for the most poles in a season is a great accomplishment, but I really can't enjoy that right now. I'm looking at having to win both races tomorrow [Sunday] to win this championship. That's where my focus is right now.”
Polen was equally pleased for his countryman, insisting he is happy to have lost his record to 'a guy like him'.
“That pole record held for 18 years, it was about time someone broke it,” said Polen, who like Spies also grew up in the Dallas area. “If anyone was going to break the record I'm glad it was Ben.
“I've watched him since he was racing mini-bikes and I've never seen a rider with the kind of work ethic he has. Ben has amazing talent on a motorcycle no doubt, but he got to where he is by working harder than his competition. I don't feel bad at all losing a record to a guy like him.”
Only Noriyuki Haga, Michel Fabrizio
and Jakub Smrz have been able to release Spies' stranglehold on Superpole in 2009.