American threat Ben Spies again pressured his WSB rivals when he claimed provisional pole position on a Yamaha R1 for Saturday’s second round of the series at Qatar.
Spies ripped round the desert circuit in 1m 58.886s during a session in which he completed 23 laps and hit a top speed of 191.83mph through the speed trap.
But Britain’s Jonathan Rea finished only 0.291s slower on his Ten Kate Honda to claim provisional second fastest.
His team-mate Carlos Checa finished third best, and Italian Max Biaggi delighted his Aprilia team with fourth fastest on the new RSV4, although his quickest lap was 0.94s slower than Spies’ best.
Ryuichi Kiyonari put the third Ten Kate Honda into the top five, and Shane Byrne – who desperately needs to score his first points of the year on Saturday – was sixth fastest on his Sterilgarda Ducati, 1.094s off pole.
It wasn’t a great session for the other Brits. Tom Sykes (Yamaha) was 12th fastest, Leon Haslam (Stiggy Honda) 19th best, and Tommy Hill (Altea Honda) managed only 22nd best.
Shinya Nakano put the second factory Aprilia in tenth place, but the two BMW S1000RRs could do no better than 16th and 17th places, in the hands of Troy Corser and Ruben Xaus.