Sunday, May 16


UNDERSCORING just how tight the competition is in the 2010 HANNspree Superbike World Championship, the Superpole sessions for round six at South Africa's Kyalami circuit were the closest ever seen.

In the finish, Cal Crutchlow(Sterilgarda Yamaha) snatched his third pole of the year, with the remainder of the front row of the grid finishing within 0.125 seconds of each other.

Crutchlow (1m 37.243s) and second-placed James Toseland (Sterilgarda Yamaha) both beat Ben Spies' pole record of 1m 37.288s - 157.117 km/h while third fastest when it really mattered was Carlos Checa (Althea Ducati). The front row was completed by Ducati Xerox rider, Michel Fabrizio, who set the lap record at 1m 38.548s in the first race last year.

Heading the second row is Leon Haslam (Alstare Suzuki) while Ducati Pata B&G privateer Jakub Smrz, who had been fastest in combined qualifying, was sixth in Superpole. The second row was completed by Aprilia Alitalia's Max Biaggi and Leon Camier on their rapid RSV4 machines.

Failing to make it through Superpole 2 for a shot at the front two rows of the grid were double Assen winner Jonathan Rea (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda), Aussie Troy Corser (BMW Motorrad Motorsport S 1000 RR) and his Spanish team-mate Rueben Xaus, along with Xerox Ducati's Noriyuki Haga. On a track where passing is difficult, 'Nitro Nori' has made it hard for himself, starting on the outside of the fourth row.

Last year Haga won both races in South Africa with team-mate Michel Fabrizio second each time. But while Fabrizio is again on the front row, Haga is well back in the pack. Once again underlining how tight this year's series is, the top 16 in Superpole were all under the Kyalami Superbike lap record, Haga included. That said, Haga's Superpole lap time this year, 1m 38.496s, was almost a second slower than his 1:37.544 effort in 2009.

Cal Crutchlow: "It didn't look like we were going to be (Yamaha) one and two on the grid this weekend. Coming to what was Yamaha's worst track last year results-wise, as a team we have done a fantastic job to get first and second. It will be interesting tomorrow but today is today and we are first and second. If we make a good start it will make for entertaining racing."

James Toseland: "I went wide twice in my fast lap, and felt there was a high 1m 36s in there. But to go from high 1:39s at the start of the weekend to even thinking about a high 1:36, gives great credit to the team. I came out this afternoon thinking, ‘right this championship is still there and I am not prepared to just let it slip away.' To be second on the grid after being 17th this morning means I have to give thanks to everybody from the team and Clinica Mobile."

Carlos Checa: "Here again we are at track where the bike works quite well. We did the best qualifying job of the year because we did not know the track, but we knew that the Ducati was going to work. Finally it was very exciting in qualifying, one of the closest. I though these guys in front would maybe be in the 1:36s but we all did 1:37.2s. I think we will have exciting racing."

Michel Fabrizio: "I pushed very hard in Superpole and when I did a 37.3, I thought that was it, I would be second, but then I saw I was only fourth. But I have a lot of faith in myself and tomorrow I am going to do well in the races."

For full Qualifying and Superpole results, click on: