News 30 May 2010

WSBK: Ducati's Smrz on provisional pole with record at Miller

Pata B&G Ducati’s Jakub Smrz raced to provisional pole after the first World Superbike qualifying session at Miller Motorsports Park in the USA on Saturday, setting a 1:48.517 that was under the existing race lap record.

Michel Fabrizio (Ducati Xerox) was a close second after leading practice, and the Yamaha Sterilgarda four-cylinder machine of Cal Crutchlow third.

World championship leader Leon Haslam was fourth on his Suzuki Alstare machine, after a steady untimed session earlier in the afternoon.

Althea Ducati riders Carlos Checa and Shane Byrne mixed it up with the factory bikes once again, going fifth and sixth respectively on what was a good first day for the twin-cylinder machines, which are now three kilograms lighter from this round onwards.

Despite a crash late in the session double world champion James Toseland (Yamaha Sterilgarda) was seventh, and only 0.370 seconds from provisional pole man Smrz.

In another impressive ride, Luca Scassa (Supersonic Ducati) was a firm eighth, ahead of the factory BMW of Troy Corser, the first Australian on the provisional grid.

Max Biaggi’s Aprilia Alitalia vee-four set a whopping top speed of 313.7kmph on the main straight today, with Max 10th overall, just ahead of top Honda finisher from the Hannspree Ten Kate team, Jonathan Rea.

Noriyuki Haga (Ducati Xerox) and Biaggi’s team-mate Leon Camier were the last of 13 leading riders all within the same second.

Top Kawasaki Racing Team rider on show proved to be Tom Sykes, 14th, one up on Ruben Xaus’ works BMW, those two riders keeping Max Neukirchner (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) in 16th.

Sylvain Guintoli was 17th for Alstare Suzuki, while local rider Roger Lee Hayden made the best of his home advantage in his rookie WSB season to go 18th for Pedercini Kawasaki.

Eugene Laverty (Parkalgar Honda) once more made a good start to his race weekend, posting a 1:51.652 second lap to break the outright Supersport best lap at Miller.

He has a clear early advantage over Kawasaki rider Joan Lascorz, who set a 1:52.211. Spaniard David Salom (ParkinGo BE-1 Triumph) ensured there was variety in the top slots by finishing third quickest, one place up on supported Kawasaki rider Fabien Foret (Lorenzini by Leoni).

Experienced privateer rider Robbin Harms (Harms Benjan Racing Honda) beat the official Honda of 2009 Miller race winner Kenan Sofuoglu (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) for fifth place.

Local man Jason DiSalvo (ParkinGo Be-1 Triumph) was creditable seventh. Nineteen riders have qualified so far. One more qualifying session remains to determine the final grid line up.

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