Guintoli on world superbike pole at Phillip Island

Frenchman Sylvain Guintoli has produced the best ever world superbike lap of the Phillip Island circuit in qualifying for round one of the 2014 Superbike World Championship.

Sylvain Guintoli

The Aprilia-mounted Guintoli produced his scorching 1min30.038sec lap with five minutes to go in the 15-minute Superpole session, with Italy’s Davide Guigliano (1:30.135) also eclipsing Carlos Checa’s previous best lap of 1:30.234, set in 2013.

“I am happy to be on the bike and back on the pace,” said Guintoli. “The off-season was a nightmare with my injured shoulder, I was off the bike for four months, but I now feel good and am back in shape.

“It ‘s a shame to be so close to the 29-second mark around Phillip Island, but we’ll now have to leave that for next year.

“It’s no secret that this circuit is one of my favourites, but a lot of riders are on the pace. Hopefully the power of the RSV4 Factory will get me through.”

Guintolii, a race winner at Phillip Island in 2013, and Ducati’s Guigliano will be joined on the front row of the grid by Marco Melandri (Aprilia, 1:30.332) in tomorrow’s two 22-lap races, while the second row will comprise Eugene Laverty (Suzuki , 1:30.385), practice pacesetter Alex Lowes (Suzuki, 1:30.421) and Honda’s Jonathan Rea (1:30.660).

Honda’s Jonathan Rea will start from sixth position on the grid.

Next in line will be the Kawasaki pair Loris Baz (1:30.796) and world champion Tom Sykes (1:30.797), to be joined by Honda’s Leon Haslam (1:31.138).

Sykes was on a hot lap with just a few minutes to go when he crashed at Lukey Heights – certainly not the first ride to come unstuck at turn nine this weekend. He was unhurt and will be ready to begin his title defence tomorrow.

Top Evo rider Niccolo Canepa (Ducati, 1:31.274), Chaz Davies (Ducati, 1:31.281) and David Salom (Kawasaki Evo, 1:31.950) will start from row four.

You can never discount Marco Melandri and tomorrow’s race will be no different.

After a crash in final practice, Australia’s Glenn Allerton (BMW) didn’t make it out into Superpole and will start from 19th on the grid, and his compatriot Matt Walters (Kawasaki) will kickstart his world championship debut from 21st.

The world superbike races will be held at midday and 2:40pm respectively.

In world supersport, the seemingly peerless Kenan Sofuoglu has continued his stellar start to the 2014 world supersport season by claiming pole position for tomorrow’s 18-lap championship opener at Phillip Island.

Polesitter for world supersport, Kawasaki’s Kenan Sofuoglu.

The three-time world champion hustled his Kawasaki ZX-6R around the 4.45km circuit to uncork a best lap of 1:32.679 in the 45-minute session, well ahead of the Honda CBR600RR of Dutchman Michael van der Mark (1:33.021).

Italian Roberto Tamburini (Kawasaki, 1:33.290) provided a minor surprise by annexing the final spot on the front row, and the second line of riders will be Kev Coghlan (Yamaha YZF-R6, 1:33.300), American PJ Jacobsen (Kawasaki, 1:33.346) and Russian Vladamir Leonov (1:33.379) on the MV Agusta F3 675.

Jacobsen was second on the timesheets with five minutes to go before crashing at turn 10.

Aussie Billy McConnell on his Triumph 675 R will start from 12th spot on the grid.

Australia’s Bryan Staring (Honda, 1:34.273) will start from 10th on the grid, and knows that a flying start will be critical in tomorrow’s race to stay in touch with the leaders during the frenetic opening laps.

Adelaide’s Billy McConnell (Triumph Daytona 675R, 1:34.39) is only two spots behind Staring in 12th, and Victoria’s Ryan Taylor (Yamaha, 1:36.253) is 24th on the 25-rider grid.

The world supersport race will be held at 1:10pm.

World Superbike Qualifying

1. S. Guintoli (Aprilia) 1’30.038 average 177.725 kph
2. D. Giugliano (Ducati) 1’30.135
3. M. Melandri (Aprilia) 1’30.332
4. E. Laverty (Suzuki) 1’30.385
5. A. Lowes (Suzuki) 1’30.421
6. J. Rea (Honda) 1’30.660
7. L. Baz (Kawasaki) 1’30.796
8. T. Sykes (Kawasaki) 1’30.835
9. L. Haslam (Honda) 1’31.138
10. N. Canepa (Ducati) 1’31.274
11.C. Davies (Ducati) 1’31.281
12. D. Salom (Kawasaki) 1’31.950
13. T. Elias (Aprilia) 1’32.107
14. C. Corti (MV Agusta) 1’32.187
15. F. Foret (Kawasaki) 1’32.248
16. A. Andreozzi (Kawasaki) 1’32.902
17. J. Guarnoni (Kawasaki) 1’33.146
18. S. Morais (Kawasaki) 1’33.404
19. G. Allerton (BMW) 1’33.605
20. I. Toth (BMW) 1’34.137
21. M. Walters (Kawasaki) 1’34.453
22. G. May (EBR) 1’34.640
23. A. Yates (EBR) 1’35.521
NC. P. Sebestyen (BMW) 1’37.274.
Live timing

Supersport Qualifying
1. K. Sofuoglu (Kawasaki) 1’32.769 average 172.493 kph
2. M. Vd Mark (Honda) 1’33.021
3. R. Tamburini (Kawasaki) 1’33.290
4. K. Coghlan (Yamaha) 1’33.300
5. P. Jacobsen (Kawasaki) 1’33.346
6. V. Leonov (MV Agusta) 1’33.379
7. R. De Rosa (Honda) 1’33.542
8. R. Wilairot (Honda) 1’33.755
9. L. Zanetti (Honda) 1’34.100
10. B. Staring (Honda) 1’34.273
11. F. Marino (Kawasaki) 1’34.276
12. B. McConnell (Triumph) 1’34.392
13. K. Wahr (Yamaha) 1’34.517
14. J. Cluzel (MV Agusta) 1’34.724
15. C. Gamarino (Kawasaki) 1’34.747
16. F. Menghi (Yamaha) 1’34.885
17. R. Russo (Honda) 1’34.930
18. G. Gowland (Triumph) 1’35.030
19. R. Rolfo (Kawasaki) 1’35.191
20. T. Coveña (Kawasaki) 1’35.429
21. M. Bussolotti (Honda) 1’35.511
22. N. Calero (Honda) 1’35.652
23. F. Rogers (Honda) 1’36.088
24. R. Taylor (Yamaha) 1’36.253
25. V. Ivanov (Yamaha) 1’36.462.

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