Tissot-Superpole for the French Round of the World Superbike Championship at Magny-Cours was held under mixed conditions and saw Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) claiming the front spot on the grid for the 8th time this year.
The Brit will be joined on the first row by title contender Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia Racing Team), who was able to elevate himself to second in the closing stages, and Davide Giugliano (Althea Racing Aprilia).
By the start of the second “wet” session the track had started to dry, meaning most riders opted to use slick tyres. Times dropped considerably throughout the 20 minutes, with Sykes being the first rider to break into the 1’39s barrier with 9 minutes left, finally setting a blistering 1’38.592s in his last attempt for pole.
Other Championship contender Eugene Laverty (Aprilia Racing Team) finished fourth ahead of Michel Fabrizio (Pata Honda World Superbike) and Ayrton Badovini (Team Ducati Alstare). Fabrizio left it late in the drying second session to secure his best start for the Pata Honda team since he replaced the injured Jonathan Rea at Istanbul in Turkey last month.
Works BMW duo of Marco Melandri and Chaz Davies will move off – in tomorrow’s two races – from the third row on the grid. Starting alongside Davies is Vincent Philippe, substitute rider for injured Leon Camier in the FIXI Crescent Suzuki Team.
Philippe comes to Magny-Cours hot-on-the-heels of securing his eighth World Endurance Championship with the Suzuki Endurance Racing Team last month. Philippe has raced at the circuit many times in the 24-hour Bol d’Or, including taking a podium there in this season’s race and winning the prestigious event on seven previous occasions.
Both Michele Pirro (Team Ducati Alstare), tenth, and Leon Haslam (Pata Honda World Superbike), fifteenth, crashed out at Turn 12 during Superpole 1: the Italian high-sided at mid-turn, landing badly on his back with no major consequences, while Leon Haslam low-sided entering the corner. The 30-year-old British rider managed to bring the bike back to the pits for repairs but, on his return to the track, he hit two damp patches as he pushed to reach Superpole 2 and was unable to progress.
1. Tom Sykes GBR Kawasaki Racing ZX-10R 1m 38.592s
2. Sylvain Guintoli FRA Aprilia Racing RSV4 1m 39.397s
3. Davide Giugliano ITA Althea Aprilia RSV4 1m 39.933s
4. Eugene Laverty IRL Aprilia Racing RSV4 1m 40.410s
5. Michel Fabrizio ITA Pata Honda CBR1000RR 1m 40.864s
6. Ayrton Badovini ITA Alstare Ducati 1199 R 1m 40.926s
7. Marco Melandri ITA BMW GoldBet S1000RR HP4 1m 41.361s
8. Chaz Davies GBR BMW GoldBet S1000RR HP4 1m 41.375s
9. Vincent Philippe FRA Fixi Crescent Suzuki GSX-R1000
10. Michele Pirro ITA Alstare Ducati 1199 R 1m 47.871s
11. Toni Elias ESP Red Devils Roma Aprilia RSV4 1m 47.886s
12. Jules Cluzel FRA Fixi Crescent Suzuki GSX-R1000 1m 48.221s
13. David Salom ESP Kawasaki Racing ZX-10R 1m 48.916s
14. Lorenzo Lanzi ITA Mesaroli Ducati 1098 R 1m 50.257s
15. Leon Haslam GBR Pata Honda CBR1000RR 1m 51.796s
Did not progress to Superpole
16. Mark Aitchison AUS Pedercini Kawasaki ZX-10R 1m 41.137s
17. Federico Sandi ITA Pedercini Kawasaki ZX-10R 1m 41.281s
18. Fabrizio Lai ITA MR Ducati 1199 R 1m 42.474s
19. Vittorio Iannuzzo ITA Grillini Dentalmatic BMW S1000RR 1m 43.180s
Magny Cours official WSBK lap records
Best lap: Tom Sykes GBR Kawasaki Racing ZX-10R 1m 36.950s (2012)
Race lap record: Noriyuki Haga JPN Ducati Xerox 1098R 1m 38.619s (2009)
World Supersport – Pole for Sofuoglu despite late crash
Kenan Sofuoglu (Mahi Racing Team India Kawasaki) has scored his fourth pole position of the season today after second qualifying for the World Supersport Championship at Magny-Cours. The Turk ended the session in a bad way, though, due to a heavy crash he suffered at Turn 3 in the final stages, that led to a Red Flag situation.
Championship leader Sam Lowes (Yakhnich Motorsport Yamaha) ended up in second place, ahead of a competitive Christian Iddon (Parkingo MV Agusta Corse), who is showing some really good form with the MV Agusta F3 675 at Magny-Cours. Roberto Tamburini (Team Lorini Honda) will head the second row on the grid in tomorrow’s WSS race by finishing fourth ahead of Sheridan Morais (Team Goeleven Kawasaki) and Danny Webb (PTR Honda).
Pata Honda duo of Lorenzo Zanetti and Michael van Der Mark finished in seventh and eight place respectively, with Riccardo Russo (Puccetti Racing Kawasaki) to follow in ninth.
Tough qualifying for Rivamoto Honda riders Jack Kennedy and Eduard Blokhin, and for WSS debutant Brodie Waters (AARK Racing Honda), all crashing out at turn number three.