Wildcard rider John Hopkins took an incredible pole position as the Samsung Crescent Suzuki team enjoyed a dream debut in the World Superbike Championship. The BSB outfit were granted a wildcard entry for this weekend's event and Hopkins took full advantage to snatch pole from Yamaha's Eugene Laverty.

In truth, the result shouldn't have been a surprise as Hopkins had set the pace in the combined qualifying practice sessions that preceded Superpole, but there were surprises further down the grid. The sight of a factory Yamaha and an Alitalia Aprilia on the front row is no great shock but it was Laverty and Leon Camier who took second and third, with title contenders Marco Melandri and Max Biaggi back in sixth and 11th respectively.

Series leader Carlos Checa continues to show impressive consistency and will be a threat from fourth on the grid. The Spaniard holds a 30 point advantage over Biaggi and has a golden opportunity to extend that lead on Sunday.

Sylvain Guintoli heads up row two ahead of Melandri's Yamaha with Michel Fabrizio and Noriyuki Haga also starting alongside after strong Superpole sessions, Fabrizio reaching SP3 for just the third time this year.

Leon Haslam was the next of the British riders in ninth, just ahead of fellow BMW man Ayrton Badovini, but was disappointed after believing he had the pace to reach Superpole 3.

“I was able to post good lap times on race tyres but sadly when we changed to the qualifying tyre, the extra grip caused a few issues. We are happy with the times on race tyres and should be in good shape for the races tomorrow. It's a shame because if I had remained on race tyres I think I could have made it into SP3. But we will line up in 9th tomorrow, which isn't bad considering my recent starting positions. I am feeling pretty confident so let's see what happens. The BMW is good off the line so I’m hoping for a good start.”

With Biaggi in 11th, Mark Aitchison will round out the third row after another impressive run on the privateer Kawasaki. The best of the factory ZX-10Rs was Tom Sykes, whose hopes of a podium look remote from 16th while James Toseland will be delighted just to be racing again and will start 14th.

Two more Brits will be in action tomorrow with Alex Lowes starting 18th for Castrol Honda after just failing to qualify for Superpole. Meanwhile, Jon Kirkham will make his WSB debut from 22nd on the second of the wildcard Crescent Suzukis.

 

Superpole Result:

Pos Rider Nat Bike Team Lap Time
1 John Hopkins (WC) USA Suzuki Samsung Crescent Racing 2:04.041
2 Eugene Laverty IRL Yamaha Yamaha World Superbike Team 2:04.068
3 Leon Camier GBR Aprilia Aprilia Alitalia Racing Team 2:04.303
4 Carlos Checa SPA Ducati Althea Racing 2:04.362
5 Sylvain Guintoli FRA Ducati Team Effenbert-Liberty Racing 2:05.456
6 Marco Melandri ITA Yamaha Yamaha World Superbike Team 2:05.639
7 Michel Fabrizio ITA Suzuki Team Suzuki Alstare 2:05.997
8 Noriyuki Haga JAP Aprilia PATA Racing Team Aprilia No Time
Eliminated in Superpole 2
9 Leon Haslam GBR BMW BMW Motorrad Motorsport 2:05.091
10 Ayrton Badovini ITA BMW BMW Motorrad Italia SBK Team 2:05.115
11 Max Biaggi ITA Aprilia Aprilia Alitalia Racing Team 2:05.184
12 Mark Aitchison AUS Kawasaki Team Pedercini 2:06.238
Eliminated in Superpole 1
13 Jakub Smrz CZE Ducati Team Effenbert-Liberty Racing 2:05.400
14 James Toseland GBR BMW BMW Motorrad Italia SBK Team 2:05.403
15 Maxime Berger FRA Ducati Supersonic Racing Team 2:05.709
16 Tom Sykes GBR Kawasaki Kawasaki Racing Team No Time
Failed to Qualify for Superpole Session
17 Troy Corser AUS BMW BMW Motorrad Motorsport 2:06.304
18 Alex Lowes GBR Honda Castrol Honda 2:06.524
19 Joan Lascorz SPA Kawasaki Kawasaki Racing Team 2:06.787
20 Roberto Rolfo ITA Kawasaki Team Pedercini 2:06.895
21 Fabrizio Lai ITA Honda Castrol Honda 2:07.482
22 Jon Kirkham (WC) GBR Suzuki Samsung Crescent Racing 2:07.889