Sep 8, 2001
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By Glenn Le Santo<BR><BR>Assen, Holland, Saturday September 8<BR><BR>Without doubt the Superpole is one of the most exciting spectacles in motor racing today. The sight of 16 riders going flat-out, and completely alone, for one lap to try to grab a good grid position for the next day's races is something every motor racing fan should witness first hand. Sadly, those watching the Superpole at Assen, or on the television from the comfort of their homes, missed the spectacle today. Rain gave the organizers no choice but to declare the Superpole 'wet', which meant the 16 fastest qualifiers from the previous two qualifying sessions had 50 minutes and a maximum of 12 laps each to produce the times to decide the grid for Sunday's two races.<BR><BR>Unlike at Oschersleben, when the 'wet' Superpole format was played out on a dry track, the rain came down hard before, during and after the Superpole at Assen, ensuring that the 16 riders had to ride the whole session in full-wet conditions. It was Australian Troy Bayliss who came out of the session on top, his time of 2:10.922 just fast enough to put him on pole, ahead of his Ducati Infostrada teammate Ruben Xaus. They will line up their Ducatis on the front row on Sunday next to Akira Yanagawa on his Kawasaki and Pierfrancesco Chili on his Suzuki.<BR><BR>Colin Edwards just squeezed himself onto the second row, where he is joined by James Toseland, whose fifth place is the highest grid position the young British rider has had in his debut World Superbike year. Toseland's teammate and winner of four Superpoles already this year, Neil Hodgson, will have to start the race from the fourth row, a very unfamiliar place for the GSE Ducati rider.<BR><BR>Superpole (wet) best times:<BR><BR>1. Troy Bayliss, Ducati 996, 2:10.922<BR>2. Ruben Xaus, Ducati 996, 2:11.126<BR>3. Akira Yanagawa, Kawasaki ZX-7RR, 2:11.382<BR>4. Pierfrancesco Chili, Suzuki GSX-R750, 2:13.776<BR>5. James Toseland, Ducati 996, 2:14.047<BR>6. Gregorio Lavilla, Kawasaki ZX-7RR, 2:14.058<BR>7. Troy Corser, Aprilia RSV1000, 2:14.120<BR>8. Colin Edwards, Honda RC51, 2:15.296<BR>9. Tadayuki Okada, Honda RC51, 2:15.770<BR>10. Regis Laconi, Aprilia RSV1000, 2:15.985<BR>11. Ben Bostrom, Ducati 996, 2:16.627<BR>12. Juan Borja, Yamaha YZF-R7, 2:16.647<BR>13. Stephane Chambon, Suzuki GSX-R750, 2:16.892<BR>14. Giovanni Bussei, Ducati 996, 2:17.581<BR>15. Neil Hodgson, Ducati 996, 2:17.937<BR>16. Lucio Pedercini, Ducati 996, 2:18.257<BR><BR>