Rookie Ben Spies took Superpole at the opening round of the 2009 SBK season at Phillip Island today, kicking off what’s sure to be an exciting season. Seven manufacturers — Aprilia, Kawasaki, Yamaha, Ducati, Honda, Suzuki and BMW — are competing this year creating a very full grid of 32 riders. Compare that to MotoGP’s five manufacturers and 18 riders, then factor in exciting new bikes like the BMW S1000RR, Aprilia RSV4 and the crossplane crankshaft R1 and you have a recipe for a bumper year of superbike racing.
That’s before you consider the list of insanely talented riders — in
addition to Spies, such names as Biaggi, Haga, Corser, Checa, Haslam
and Xaus are participating — and the single tire manufacturer: Pirelli.
This should be some close racing. Superpole times indicate that as
well. Spies, who’s never even seen Phillip Island outside a video game,
set a lap of 1’31.069; while, aboard the unproven RSV4, Biaggi lapped
in 1’31.402. The S1000RRs looked a little off the pace, with Corser
setting a 1’32.873 time.
The only fly in the ointment? We can’t figure out how we’re going to
watch the races. Speed will be showing only race one (at 4pm EST) and
we can’t get the WorldSBK.com’s streaming video to work on our fancy
Macs. Any ideas?