27 March 2010
Smrz, Biaggi lead way after Q2
The Czech rider secures provisional pole status over Max Biaggi after doing his quick lap time first.
Jakub Smrz and Max Biaggi put in their pitch for a Superpole challenge later today by going fastest in second provisional qualifying in Portugal, the pair emerging with identical lap times.
Amidst a flurry of activity in the latter stages of the session, Smrz moved in front with just under ten minutes remaining, with Biaggi joining him there with a lap of 1min 43.003secs. The fact Smrz did his lap first, however, means the Czech rider heads into Superpole with 'provisional pole' status.
As ever, things were tight at the top with Michel Fabrizio, Leon Haslam, Jonathan Rea and Carlos Checa all split by just a tenth from third down to sixth position, the quartet all improving their times late on to ensure the fight for pole position remains an open competition.
Despite ending the session seventh, James Toseland himself was only three tenths adrift of Smrz in front, the Briton out pacing Noriyuki Haga in eighth, the Japanese rider making steady progress up the order having been classified outside the top ten after day one.
Tom Sykes posted one of the session's big improvements to catapult his sole Kawasaki SRT up to ninth position, while BMW's Troy Corser ensured all seven manufacturers are represented inside the top ten.
After rallying towards the top of the timesheets initially, Shane Byrne completed just three laps due to a crash, the Althea rider slipping back to 11th by the close of the session, ahead of Sylvain Guintoli and Ruben Xaus, the Spaniard making a marked improvement having initially looked at risk of failing to make Superpole.
Going in the other direction, Cal Crutchlow and Leon Camier were 14th and 15th quickest, ahead of privateer Ducati pair Lorenzo Lanzi and Luca Scassa, while Max Neukirchner scraped into Superpole in 18th after failing to improve his time from Q1.
Finally, Reitwagen BMW will have both of their riders present in Superpole, Andrew Pitt finishing marginally ahead of new recruit Makoto Tamada.
Losing out on the chance to qualify again this afternoon was Sheridan Morais, Matteo Baiocco, Vittorio Iannuzzo and Roger Lee Hayden
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