Ducati's Pegram Takes First Superbike Pole in 13 Years
NEWS July 31, 2009
Pegram paced a competitive group of American Superbike competitors that saw four different manufacturers on the front row for the first time since the May 2002 race at Road Atlanta. It was also the first Superbike pole for Pegram since the 1996 Road America race and the first for Ducati since Eric Bostrom qualified first at Daytona in March 2004.
"I actually feel really good because I usually really screw up in Superpole," said Pegram, who clinched the top spot with a lap time of 1:36.368 (93.392 mph). "I felt like I left a little bit out there like I normally do, but it was good enough to hold on. I'm really happy. My guys have worked so hard and there has really been rejuvenation this season by being back on a bike that is capable of winning."
Pegram and Ducati will share the front row with Aaron Yates (No. 23 Brand Jordan Suzuki GSX-R1000), Jake Holden (No. 59 Holden Racing Honda CBR1000RR) and Ben Bostrom (No. 2 Yamaha Motor Corp. USA Yamaha R1) for the most diverse American Superbike front row in more than seven years.
"It was a pretty decent lap and no big dramas or moments, or anything," said Yates, who clocked in second overall and the fastest Suzuki at 1:36.513 (93.252 mph). "I let off a little over the hill in Turn 1 and slowed down a little too much for the switchback there. I was off a few tenths in the second segment, I think, which I have been struggling there all weekend, but I was pretty strong in the other end of the track and got through there good. I just barely missed out."
Holden joined Corona Extra teammate Neil Hodgson (No. 100 Corona Extra Honda CBR1000RR) as the only Honda riders in Superpole and qualified a solid third with a lap of 1:36.540 (93.226 mph). Holden was also the fastest rider in American Superbike group qualifying earlier on Friday.
"After this morning I felt pretty good about going to Superpole," said Holden, who posted his best qualifying effort of the year. "I felt like I got a decent lap in but I lost the front coming through Turn 2 there over the bumps. I tried to pull it back together and ended up still quick in that segment, so it wasn't too bad. It is great to be back up here on the front row. I bought this bike right before Daytona and it is pretty much just a stock machine except for the motor."
Bostrom represented Yamaha on the front row with a fourth-place qualifying lap of 1:36.643 (93.126 mph). He held the top spot for the majority of the middle of the session but knew his lap likely wouldn't hold up for the pole.
"I botched the third split pretty bad, and I just wasn't so good in the last one," Bostrom said. "I felt fine in the first couple and got a few things to learn, but the bike is fantastic. It is really important to try out the newer soft tire before you go out for Superpole, but we kind of let that slip. We had a little mechanical there during qualifying. I don't know, I just wasn't ready for the thing to grip that good. The track is pretty slippery and really fun to ride around. There's a lot of sideways action everywhere and the race is going to be exciting and I think one of the better races."
Bostrom was also complimentary of the outstanding effort Heartland Park Topeka owner Raymond Irwin has made in working with AMA Pro Road Racing to improve the safety aspects of the circuit.
"The promoter is trying hard to reconstruct the track for safety issues," Bostrom said. "When we come back there will be a few things that definitely need to be done, but it looks like he is proactive and will do it. Good on him, its nice to have a new track."
Bostrom's teammate Josh Hayes (No. 4 Yamaha Motor Corp. USA Yamaha R1) qualified fifth.
Saturday's first American Superbike race of the weekend is scheduled to start at 3 p.m. local time for 20 laps/50 miles. Coverage of Saturday's races will begin at 10:30 p.m. ET (7:30 p.m. PT) on SPEED.
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