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post #1 of 1 (permalink) Old 08-04-2006, 08:22 PM Thread Starter
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Spies on Provisional Pole at Mid-Ohio

Yoshimura Suzuki’s Ben Spies took the provisional pole with a new lap record at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, site of the 12th and 13th rounds of the AMA Superbike Championship.

Spies moved to the top of the time sheets with about 1:30 mins. to run in the session and he solidified his position with the lap record of 1:25.330 on his final lap. The time was over a second faster than the previous lap record of 1:26.375 held by American Honda’s Jake Zemke.

Spies said he had to overcome the potential pitfalls of running over the sealer in the totally repaved track before he could set the mark.

“It’s just a rider being on sealer trying to go fast, it never gives you much feel until it’s gone,” he said. “That was one of the deals, in the last couple of laps I was like, ‘I’ve got to roll through the corner, I got to get through these corners like nothing’s wrong.' And that’s exactly what I did and I dropped eight-tenths a lap and it was comfortable. I just pretty much let off the brake and rolled through the corner and tried to have my knee down with the gas a little bit picked up in case something happened. Nothing happened.”

Until the final few laps, Spies said he was frustrated with his riding. Stuck with a time in the low 1:26’s, Spies scolded himself by saying, “‘I’m riding like pretty much an idiot’ and I was getting extremely mad at that point.” His next lap was a 1:25.5, then came a 1:25.4, the pair of 1:25.3’s that would net him the pole.

“It was good, because we weren’t on a (qualifying tire),” he said. “We were on race tires and we definitely know we can make the bike better from here.”

Locked in a championship battle with teammate Mat Mladin, Spies knows that every point counts. And though this was only the provisional pole, he was confident he could make the Suzuki GSX-R100 better and would gain extra time from the two qualifying tires he saved for Saturday morning.

“We need to get the pole, we need to win races,” he said. His lead over Mladin is 34 points with seven races to run, including this weekend’s double-header. Spies said he nearly had the 36 point cushion that would allow him a DNF. “We have almost a win; what do you do? If it’s comfortable, we get the bike working, we got to win races right now. If it’s not there, we have the opportunity to where we can finish second a couple of times until it is very comfortable to run up front and maybe win a race. But I’m not treating this weekend any different. We need to win races. What I’ve said to my crew, and I don’t want this to happen, if something unfortunate happened-lost the front or something, didn’t get any points-we’re still dead even pretty much. You don’t want that to happen. We’re coming to win races and we’re not going into clam up mode yet.”

Mladin is coming to win races as well. Up until Laguna Seca, he’d been on a streak of eight races in a row finishing first or second. Health problems contributed to an off weekend in Monterey; he finished sixth, by far his worst of the year, and lost 13 points on a weekend when Spies won yet again.

Mladin led most of qualifying today. It was only on the final two laps of the final minutes that Spies broke through. Mladin ended up .111 seconds back in second.

American Honda’s Jake Zemke and Parts Unlimited Ducati’s Ben Bostrom filled out the provisional front row.

Neil Hodgson, Bostrom’s teammate, leads off the second row. American Honda’s Miguel Duhamel is sixth followed by a pair of satellite Suzukis, Jordan Suzuki’s Jason Pridmore and the KWS Motorsports/Millennium Technologies’ Suzuki of John Haner.

Friday Superbike Qualifying:

1. Ben Spies (Suzuki) 1:25.330

2. Mat Mladin (Suzuki) 1:25.441

3. Jake Zemke (Honda) 1:25.795

4. Ben Bostrom (Ducati) 1:26.376

5. Neil Hodgson (Ducati) 1:26.391

6. Miguel Duhamel Honda) 1:26.528

7. Jason Pridmore (Suzuki) 1:26.594

8. John Haner (Suzuki) 1:26.917

9. Aaron Yates (Suzuki) 1:27.138

10. Jake Holden (Suzuki) 1:27.345

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