With just over five minutes of Superpole action remaining on the Ricardo Tormo circuit, the quiet American Ben Spies rolled his Yamaha out of pit lane. At the end of sector one on the 2.487-mile he was quicker by 0.199s than any rival, and as he left sector two the gap had grown to 0.356s.
And as the 24-year-old Tennessean flashed across the line on the R1, he had stretched the distance to 0.685s over the Frenchman Regis Laconi on his DFX Ducati 1098R – a huge margin by this season’s standards.
So Spies, the World Superbike rookie, claimed his third successive pole of the year, and may be able to overhaul championship leader Noriyuki Haga (Xerox Ducati) in Sunday’s two 23-lap races.
Haga finished third fastest with a 1m 34.082s lap, and Michele Fabrizio will complete the front row on the second Xerox Ducati.
The sensation of this Superpole spectacle was the failure of Max Biaggi on the Aprilia RSV4, so hot in earlier sessions, to make the cut into the final 16. Biaggi presumably gambled on not using one of the two permitted qualifying tyres in the first of the three Superpole segments, but could only finish 18th fastest and will start from the fifth row.
Of the five British and Irish riders in the race, only Jonathan Rea on the Hannspree Ten Kate Honda made it through to the third Superpole session for the fastest eight. He starts from the second row, after lapping 1.786s slower than superman Spies.
Leon Haslam (Stiggy Honda) and Shane Byrne (Sterilgarda Ducati) will start from the third row. Troy Corser, on the BMW S1000RR, lost his earlier competitiveness and will start from the fourth row with a best lap in 1m 34.863s.