Liberty Racing Team Effenbert’s Jakub Smrz took his first Superpole of the season at Miller Motorsports Park. Althea Racing’s Carlos Checa posted the second fastest time and was followed by Kawasaki Racing Team’s Tom Sykes in third. Althea Racing’s Davide Giugliano rounds out the front row in fourth.
Checa won both Superpole 1 and 2 and was in position to take pole position until Smrz, in the final minutes of the final session, came in with a time of 1’47.626. The Ducati riders were the only two of the field to post times under 1’48.
Honda’s Jonathan Rea heads the second row in fifth place. He is joined by Team Effenbert Liberty Racing’s Sylvain Guintoli in sixth and Aprilia Racing teammates Max Biaggi and Eugene Laverty in seventh and eighth respectively.
Smrz earned provisional pole position in Saturday’s qualifying session. During the final practice on Sunday morning, the Ducati rider lost the front end and crashed his bike on a medium pace left hander, causing him to finish in seventh. Smrz improved his time in each of the three Superpole sessions, with his final time better than the fastest laps set by Checa last year in Salt Lake City. The Liberty Racing ace scored a podium at Miller last year, finishing second in Race 1, and appears confident that he will be in the running for another this year.
“I am very happy to take the pole because in all the practices we have been doing a good job and my bike has been perfectly prepared,” said Smrz. “I had a small crash in free practice but we got the bike back in time for Superpole and I am happy that we should have good pace for the races tomorrow.”
Sykes, currently second in overall points, has now only failed to win Superpole twice so far this season. The Kawasaki rider is pleased with his front row position though; “I’m surprised to be on the front row because we have been struggling here at Miller. Once again the guys have done a great job because we changed something for Superpole to try and make something happen and fair play to the Kawasaki team because on the first lap on a race tyre I knew we had a lot better package.”
Giugliano is making his MIller debut and already feels comfortable on the track. “It’s my first time here and when I arrived at Miller, I went around in the car and could immediately see it was a great circuit for me and I really like it. So far the bike has never been as good as it was today but as long as it goes like this, then things are looking good.”
Donington winner Marco Melandri of BMW Motorrad just missed qualifying for the third Superpole session. Both he and teammate Leon Haslam have had difficulty in Miller so far, dealing with tire issues, chatter and electronic failures. Melandri was ready to push for position in the final Superpole session after addressing a number of points, but when he came out for a final fast lap he got hung up behind another rider through a corner and lost time.
2012 World Superbike Miller Superpole:
1. Jakub Smrz (Ducati) 1’47.626
2. Carlos Checa (Ducati) 1’47.810
3. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) 1’48.062
4. Davide Giugliano (Ducati) 1’48.220
5. Jonathan Rea (Honda) 1’48.563
6. Sylvain Guintoli (Ducati) 1’48.568
7. Max Biaggi (Aprilia) 1’48.794
8. Eugene Laverty (Aprilia) 1’49.175
9. Marco Melandri (BMW) 1’48.422
10. Michel Fabrizio (BMW) 1’48.566
11. Chaz Davies (Aprilia) 1’48.669
12. Lorenzo Zanetti (Ducati) 1’49.929
13. Leon Haslam (BMW) 1’49.552
14. Maxime Berger (Ducati) 1’49.750
15. Niccolo Canepa (Ducati) 1’49.818
16. John Hopkins (Suzuki) 1’49.966
17. Loris Baz (Kawasaki) 1’50.424
18. Ayrton Badovini (BMW) 1’50.427
19. David Salom (Kawasaki) 1’50.504
20. Leon Camier (Suzuki) 1’50.520
21. Hiroshi Aoyama (Honda) 1’50.963
22. Leandro Mercado (Kawasaki) 1’51.843
23. Jake Holden (BMW) 1’52.108
24. Shane Turpin (Ducati) 1’54.399