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Last gasp Smrz grabs Miller pole

Jakub Smrz claims his second-career World Superbike Championship pole position at Miller Motorsports Park, ahead of Carlos Checa, Tom Sykes and Davide Giugliano.
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Jakub Smrz will start a World Superbike Championship race from pole position for only the second time in his career after successfully fulfilling his 'favourite' status in Superpole at Miller Motorsports Park.

The Czech rider has been in imperious form around the Utah circuit so far this weekend, dominating FP1, Q1 and Q2, but came into the crucial Superpole session having turned in a pole position winning performance only once before, at Misano in 2009.

Indeed, it appeared pole position was heading the way of Carlos Checa after the Althea Ducati rider pumped in a time of 1min 47.810secs with four minutes of the session remaining.

However, while most riders returned to the pit lane having gotten the best from their qualifying rubber, Smrz emerged on track for a last gasp effort. With just one opportunity to make up ground, Smrz was lapped the American venue inch-perfect to go quickest with a 1min 47.626secs.

Marking Effenbert Liberty Ducati's second pole position of the season after Sylvain Guintoli achieved the same feat at Monza, Smrz heads into the two races well placed to challenge for a first WSBK win in more than 140 starts.

Though forced to settle for second position, Checa nonetheless starts from his highest grid slot of the season, while Althea Racing had further reason to be satisfied after its protégé Davide Giugliano put in an excellent lap to make it three Ducatis on the front row in fourth place.

Unable to make it five Superpoles in six attempts, third place for Tom Sykes at least retains his unbroken run of front row starts this year, while the Kawasaki rider also begins comfortably ahead of title rival Max Biaggi, the championship leader going seventh best.

Joining Biaggi on the second row will be Donington Park race winner Jonathan Rea in fifth and Smrz's Effenbert Liberty team-mate Guintoli in sixth. Aprilia's Eugene Laverty will also start alongside Biaggi in eighth, even if the Irishman's first 'shootout' appearance of the season was curtailed by a technical issue that prevented him from challenging for pole position.

Elsewhere, it was a disappointing afternoon for BMW after Marco Melandri was eliminated in SP2, the Italian forced to start in ninth position, while team-mate Leon Haslam fared even worse in 13th after a deflation of the rear tyre lost him crucial time.

Alongside Melandri on the third row will be Michel Fabrizio, Chaz Davies and Lorenzo Zanetti, while Haslam has Maxime Berger, Niccolo Canepa and John Hopkins for company on row four, the latter unable to replicate his Q2 pace to ensure both Suzuki's start in the lower half of the field.



Related Pictures

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Smrz, USA WSBK 2012
Smrz, USA WSBK 2012
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Smrz, USA WSBK 2012
Smrz, USA WSBK 2012
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Davies slides, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP test, November 2014
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Davies, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP test, November 2014
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Rea, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP test, November 2014
Davies, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP test, November 2014
Rea, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP test, November 2014
Rea, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP test, November 2014

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