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Well, we pretty much called this one.


Spies is fast as balls in practice and 1st qualifying (like a second in front of Rea), and the factory Ducs are struggling.

What's interesting is that Smrz and Byrne aren't having that hard of a time on their privateer bikes.

What do you guys think will happen come race day?

I say Haga will pull another Philip Island and qualify in the back, only to make up for it during the race. Like he says "we don't need qualifying!". Then again, he hasn't shown any real speed during any of the practice laps and is well over a second behind Spies. Tough to say about Fabrizio too.


The Hondas seem to be doing really well, and Rea and Checa are uber fast. I think people tend to underestimate the Blades in WSBK.

Another interesting note, Neukirchner on the factory Suzuki is sucking even more balls than Haga. The Zuk did really well there last year IIRC.

It'll be interesting to see how all these variables factor in to race day. That's what I love about WSBK. You watch qualifying in GP and you pretty much know who's going to be on podium, whereas in SBK practice and qualifying aren't necessarily determinants of the final results (which is how it should be IMO, qualifying isn't meant to predict your placement in the final standings, but your placement on the grid).

Discuss.



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Nice summary. I guess you pretty well nailed it! Bring on Race day!!

Predictions? Spies...both races. Mary will burst with pride and a joyous noise will rise from us all. :)
 

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Well, we pretty much called this one.


Spies is fast as balls in practice and 1st qualifying (like a second in front of Rea), and the factory Ducs are struggling.
No, Rea is just under 3/10th behind Spies

What's interesting is that Smrz and Byrne aren't having that hard of a time on their privateer bikes.
No, They are a second off provisional pole and 1-2/10th ahead of the factory Dukes

Another interesting note, Neukirchner on the factory Suzuki is sucking even more balls than Haga. The Zuk did really well there last year IIRC.
No, Neukirchner is less than 1/10th behind Haga. All the details are here

Qualifying continues tomorrow with another session followed by Superpole. Let's see how things look then. Afterall Neukirchner was fastest in the first practice.

The Ducati's are having traction problems, let's see if they can resolve it tomorrow.

My prediction is that haga will come away still leading the championship but he is unlikely to win at Losail. He doesn't do that well at the track. As I have stated before the season doesn't really start until we get to Europe.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
OK my bad Rea isn't that far behind Spies.

When I said Byrne and Smrz weren't having that hard of a time I was refering to their positions (6th and 7th respectively) which might be a few tenths faster than the factory riders, but when you consider that two privateers are ahead of the factory bikes and are in 6th and 7th out of a field of 28, I would consider that "not that hard of a time". Opinions are subjective I guess.

And Neukirchner might be a tenth behind Haga, but he's still in 13th, and almost one and a half seconds off provisional pole, which in my opinion is pretty bad considering how fast he and the factory Zuk were at PI.



Times for 1st qualifying:

1 19 Spies B. (USA) Yamaha YZF R1 1'58.886
2 65 Rea J. (GBR) Honda CBR1000RR 1'59.177
3 7 Checa C. (ESP) Honda CBR1000RR 1'59.731
4 3 Biaggi M. (ITA) Aprilia RSV4 1'59.826
5 9 Kiyonari R. (JPN) Honda CBR1000RR 1'59.937
6 67 Byrne S. (GBR) Ducati 1098R 1'59.980
7 96 Smrz J. (CZE) Ducati 1098R 2'00.024
8 84 Fabrizio M. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 2'00.101
9 55 Laconi R. (FRA) Ducati 1098R 2'00.232
10 56 Nakano S. (JPN) Aprilia RSV4 2'00.238
11 41 Haga N. (JPN) Ducati 1098R 2'00.254
12 66 Sykes T. (GBR) Yamaha YZF R1 2'00.283
13 76 Neukirchner M. (GER) Suzuki GSX-R 1000 K9 2'00.345
14 44 Rolfo R. (ITA) Honda CBR1000RR 2'00.374
15 71 Kagayama Y. (JPN) Suzuki GSX-R 1000 K9 2'00.398
16 11 Corser T. (AUS) BMW S1000 RR 2'00.455
17 111 Xaus R. (ESP) BMW S1000 RR 2'00.610
18 23 Parkes B. (AUS) Kawasaki ZX 10R 2'00.769
19 91 Haslam L. (GBR) Honda CBR1000RR 2'00.799
20 100 Tamada M. (JPN) Kawasaki ZX 10R 2'01.222
21 31 Muggeridge K. (AUS) Suzuki GSX-R 1000 K9 2'01.224
22 33 Hill T. (GBR) Honda CBR1000RR 2'01.336
23 25 Salom D. (ESP) Kawasaki ZX 10R 2'01.464
24 77 Iannuzzo V. (ITA) Honda CBR1000RR 2'01.560
25 99 Scassa L. (ITA) Kawasaki ZX 10R 2'01.607
26 24 Roberts B. (AUS) Ducati 1098R 2'01.779
27 86 Badovini A. (ITA) Kawasaki ZX 10R 2'02.272
28 15 Baiocco M. (ITA) Kawasaki ZX 10R 2'02.917



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My prediction is that haga will come away still leading the championship but he is unlikely to win at Losail. He doesn't do that well at the track. As I have stated before the season doesn't really start until we get to Europe.
X2- I think Haga will finish in the top 5- But I don't think he will win--
 

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Well the info from trackside says; most people had tire issues on thursday. Haga's issues were related to setup as well, so thats why he was so far down. I have confidence, he'll be on-pace my qualifying, though I doubt he'll beat Spies for the over-all fastest lap.

Qatar is a tough track because its quick, no doubt, but its also very sandy and conditions change all the time. We only get to see the fastest guy, but the most important thing is NOT speed, its consistency. Haga pretty far off pace ALL weekend at Philip Island and had Spies stayed in the race, Haga would have gotten 2nd both races.

I feel Qatar will be no different. Haga and Fabrizio will have there act together by race day and be out front, and I personally expect Haga to be on the podium. I feel, once Spies gets into the european courses, he'll start slowing down.

So we'll see! Fingers crossed, go Haga, Fabrizio and Byrne!



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Superpole Session 1 is over.

Highlights:

Spies fastest
Spies, Sykes, Parkes!! (on the ZX10) ans Corser!! (BMW) in the 1.58's
Haga 13th going faster than practice but int mid 1.59's
Nakano final qualifier to proceed to session 2

Top 18 covered by 1.1 seconds!
 

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Outright lap records tumbled as the Duel in the Desert continued at Losail, Qatar during qualifying for the second round of the World Superbike Championship. After struggling with grip during practice that left him 11th fastest, factory Xerox Ducati rider, Noriyuki Haga dug deep during the 3 Superpole sessions running almost 3 seconds faster to qualify on the front row of the grid. Spies captured pole position. Full details here
 

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Man, sucks Shaky was so far back again, he was way off pace. I wonder if he's struggling to find pace due to the new circuits or he has a bike issue.

I'm glad Haga pulled something out of his ass to get further out front. Haga's never been a stupendous qualifier, but he's learning that Tardozzi wants the Ducati to be on pole at any cost.

My prediction stands:

1st Spies/Haga one will win, one will get second
3rd Biaggi
4th Fabrizio

Will Spies win? Its grossly in his favor and I can't deny if he can get a good start and pulls a Casey Stoner, he'll win. But, like Philip Island, he'll screw up the start and have to fight back to the front. Man, such a hard thing to predict!

I'll have to wait until saturday night to watch'em, I'll be on the track all day sat. Dam, I can't wait that long! :eek:



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Um, maybe not. How many points is the gap between 1st and 2nd? 5? If so Ben will be tied for first after the next event and leading after the following one. (yes, that is being overly cocky and is actually a joke - but he will be the champ this year)

It really does suck, I think Haga is great and he should be mad at Suzuki for not putting Ben in GP's.
 

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Spies Dominant in Desert Duel

Yamaha Italia’s Ben Spies took the new R1 to victory in the first race of Round 2 of the World Superbike Championship at Losail, Qatar. Spies rode a perfect race, content to stay close to the leading group. Once he took the lead with 7 laps to go, he was never threatened. World Championship points leader and factory Xerox Ducati rider, Noriyuki Haga was forced to settle for second as his V-twin proved uncompetitive on the long front straight against the more powerful 4 cylinder machines. Max Biaggi was impressive on the Aprilia RSV4, this time not running off on the last lap to take third on the rapidly improving Aprilia. Full commentary and results are available here.
 

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Spies Does the Double in the Desert

Yamaha Italia's Ben Spies made it 3 victories in the same number of races as he took victory in the race 2 of the second round of the World Superbike Championship in Losail, Qatar. In taking the double at Losail, Spies moved into 2nd place in the championship, just 10 points behind factory Xerox Ducati rider Noriyuki Haga. Haga battled valiantly to take another 2nd place, no doubt happy to head to Europe leading the championship after competing at 2 circuits he doesn't traditionally do well at and are not particularly well suited to the desmo twin. Full commentary and results are available here.
 

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Well, I think I might finally be convinced that Ben is the REAL deal. I have to admit I am impressed with his performance at Losail especially considering he hasn't tested or ridden there before. There is still a lot of season left and a lot that can happen between now and the end of the season but I have to admit that I was wrong and underestimated Ben's talent. So, apologies where they are due: MondoWERA, I'm starting to think you are probably right and I was wrong. Good on ya Ben and good luck.
 
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