These just in:
Tom Sykes makes it eight in today's Tissot-Superpole
Magny-Cours (France), Saturday 5 October 2013 - Tissot-Superpole for the French Round 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 4th ahead of Michel Fabrizio (Pata Honda World Superbike) and Ayrton Badovini (Team Ducati Alstare). Works BMW duo of Marco Melandri and Chaz Davies will move off - in tomorrow's two races - from the third row on the grid, along with Vincent Philippe, substitute rider for injured Leon Camier in the FIXI Crescent Suzuki Team.
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 while entering the corner, eventually crossing on foot the track to pick up his bike and successfully make it back to the pits.
Results: 1. Sykes (Kawasaki) 1'38.592 average 161.064 kph; 2. Guintoli (Aprilia) 1'39.397; 3. Giugliano (Aprilia) 1'39.933; 4. Laverty (Aprilia) 1'40.410; 5. Fabrizio (Honda) 1'40.864; 6. Badovini (Ducati) 1'40.926; 7. Melandri (BMW) 1'41.361; 8. Davies (BMW) 1'41.375; 9. Philippe (Suzuki) 1'47.691; 10. Pirro (Ducati); 11. Elias (Aprilia); 12. Cluzel (Suzuki); 13. Salom (Kawasaki); 14. Lanzi (Ducati); 15. Haslam (Honda).
European Junior Cup
Josh Harland (Easy Barber Racing) has secured the pole position for the Pata European Junior Cup, powered by Honda. Qualifying was ended early, with 16 minutes left, following the crash occurred by home rider Guillaume Raymond (Activbike) that brought to a red flag situation. Harland will be joined on first row by wildcard Valter Patronen (Honda Racing Finland) and Raymond, who escaped the crashed uninjured. Championship leader Jake Lewis (Jake Lewis Racing) will start from fourth place on the grid.
Times: 1. Harland 2'18.717 average 114.475 kph; 2. Patronen 2'19.381; 3. Raymond 2'19.553; 4. Lewis 2'20.797; 5. Flitcroft 2'20.937; 6. Manfredi 2'20.959; 7. Fernandez 2'21.218; 8. Eberhard 2'21.947; 9. Soomer 2'22.627; 10. Croft 2'22.636; etc.
second row start for Badovini and Team SBK Ducati Alstare in tomorrow's SBK races at Magny-Cours
Nevers (France), Saturday 5 October 2013: there were mixed conditions once again today at the Magny-Cours circuit in France where team SBK Ducati Alstare is taking part in the thirteenth round of the World Superbikes this weekend. In this afternoon's Superpole, and on a wet track that dried out towards the end of the session, Ayrton Badovini qualified sixth while Michele Pirro, suffering a crash in the final stages, will start from tenth position in tomorrow's races.
The morning's second qualifying session took place on a wet track (16 degrees C air temperature, 16 degrees C track), giving riders the chance to test wet settings in case conditions are the same during tomorrow's races. The track conditions meant that riders were unable to improve on times set in yesterday afternoon's dry qualifying session, meaning that although Ayrton and Michele finished this session in fourth (1'55.9) and fifth place (1'56.1), they qualified in tenth (Michele) and thirteenth (Ayrton) place respectively for the afternoon's Superpole.
In the final practice session, the times of all riders continued to drop, especially in the final stages. Badovini, at ease on the completely wet track, improved by half a second on this morning's time. Pirro too was lapping well until a small crash at the second turn slowed him down; fortunately he suffered no injury in the fall.
Superpole 1: at the start of the first Superpole the track was very wet but it gradually started to dry throughout the session, meaning that lap times fell particularly in the latter stages. There were continuous changes at the top of the timesheets and Badovini, improving on his times lap after lap, was able to score the fourth fastest time at the session's end (1'46.4), securing a place in phase two without difficulty. Pirro was also making constant progress but unfortunately, just two minutes from the end, he suffered a highside at turn 12 while making a fast lap and this prevented him from advancing to phase two. Although suffering contusions to both his back and right elbow, his injuries are fortunately not serious and should not condition his performance in tomorrow's races. He will line up in tenth position on the race grid, having recorded a best of 1'47.8.
Superpole 2: the track continued to dry rapidly and was almost completely dry by the end of the session, with times dropping dramatically as a result. In the final stages, Ayrton went out with a qualifying tyre, as did most of the other riders, and stopped the clock at 1'40.2 to secure final sixth position.
Ayrton Badovini: "It was a difficult Superpole. In the first phase the track was very wet and so that complicated the session. Then in the second phase the track had almost dried out but we were unable to find the right feeling in the short time available. It was our first opportunity to test the changes that we had made in dry conditions. Our grid position is not bad but, not having had the benefit of any dry practice sessions, it's hard to say how tomorrow's races will play out."
Michele Pirro: "I'm really sorry about the crash, because we could have done well in today's Superpole. I have hurt my back, my elbow too, but luckily it isn't anything serious, just bruising really. The track was drying rapidly and I think I slipped on a small wet patch. It won't be easy tomorrow from the fourth row but I'll be giving it my all. The conditions will also play a part I imagine but I hope to be able to make a good start and score a good result."
A HARD FOUGHT SUPERPOLE FOR SYLVAIN GUINTOLI WHO WILL START FROM THE SECOND SPOT ON THE GRID TOMORROW AT MAGNY-COURS
FOURTH BEST TIME AND SECOND ROW FOR EUGENE LAVERTY, CONSOLED BY A GOOD RACE PACE.
THREE APRILIAS IN THE TOP FOUR SPOTS WITH DAVIDE GIUGLIANO'S THIRD PLACE.
Magny-Cours, 5 October 2013 - Hometown favourite Sylvain Guintoli did not let his French fans down as they cheered him on from the Magny-Cours grandstands. At the end of a rousing Superpole Sylvain had the second best time which places him on the front row of the starting grid for the races tomorrow. Eugene Laverty also put in an excellent performance, finishing fourth at the end of the two sessions. Thanks to the third best time by Davide Giugliano (Althea Racing) there will be three RSV4s in the top four spots.
Although the Superpole was declared "wet", two thirds of it was actually held on asphalt dry enough to justify using slick tyres. In any case the wet procedure reduced the action to two 20 minute sessions with 15 riders in the first and nine passing through to the second to make a play for their spot on the grid. Aprilia riders Guintoli and Laverty chose to start, as did almost all their rivals, with wet tyres, later returning to the garage when the track began to improve to change them out. The timing allowed Sylvain and Eugene to come through the first session easily, saving their energy (and the two qualifying tyres) for the second, decisive 20 minute Superpole.
With the track basically dry, Sylvain took full advantage of his second Pirelli soft tyre, stopping the clock at 1'39.397 to earn the second spot on the starting grid for the two races tomorrow. The French rider, lying third in the Rider Championship standings, Will be able to count on the excellent work done over the past two days of practice on both a dry and wet track. No matter what conditions the weather brings tomorrow, Sylvain knows that he has what it takes to be a key player on his home track.
Sylvain Guintoli: "The conditions were difficult this afternoon with a lot of wet spots that were hard to see. It was a tricky situation but in the end we came away with an important second spot on the grid. In the last few laps I even broke the front fairing with my helmet and I'm sure that made me lose a bit of time. In any case my race pace is fast and I want to stay focused on riding as well as possible without making any calculations. I'm hoping for two dry races tomorrow. I was very fast in these conditions yesterday and I'd like to give my French fans something to cheer about."
Eugene Laverty's fourth place finish satisfied the Northern Irish rider who rode a good Superpole where he only lost a bit of ground with his second qualifying tyre. Being in the front two rows was the minimum goal for Eugene, well aware that starting out front on a track like this one is a huge advantage. The good progress demonstrated throughout the practice sessions prior to Superpole are a good indicator that Laverty, lying second in the rider standings, will be able set his sights on the top prize.
Eugene Laverty: "Today was a productive day. I struggled in the first wet session this morning but we made up for it in the second where I finished fourth, so I'd say I have a good race pace even on a wet track. Superpole was a "mixed" one and I'm pleased with my fourth place in the end. Starting from the front two rows is crucial. Tomorrow we'll be pushing hard looking for a win and hoping for two dry races".
An exceptional Giugliano scores third place in Superpole at Magny Cours
Rain characterised the second day of practice today at the Magny-Cours circuit in France. After a first positive day, this morning Davide Giugliano and team Althea Racing faced the second practice session on a wet track. Davide made 14 laps, recording the second fastest time (1'55"166), but without improving on yesterday's time, therefore qualifying in overall sixth position. Davide easy qualified for this afternoon's Superpole. In the final practice session Giugliano and team Althea's technical staff worked on the wet seeing of their RSV4, in preparation for the subsequent Superpole and Davide topped the timesheets with a best of 1'54"384. The Superpole was declared wet and therefore consisted of two twenty-minute sessions. In the first phase Giugliano positioned seventh (1'46"825), thus progressing to phase two. The track was drying out and with perfect tactical precision, a few minutes from the end, team Althea decided to use a qualifying tyre which Davide made the most of, stopping the clocks at 1'39"933 and taking the overall third fastest time and a position on the front row of tomorrow's grid for the two 23-lap races.
Genesio Bevilacqua: "I'm particularly pleased with the way Davide has been riding all weekend. Our rider has improved greatly; he is able to make the most out of both his riding style as well as our bike's potential. I'm happy with what Giugliano has done today because I'm convinced that he deserves to be up there with the frontrunners of this championship. Furthermore, results such as that of today consolidate our faith in our abilities. Compliments to my team that is in perfect harmony with Davide's growth and continues to work as hard as ever."
Davide Giugliano: "I'm happy with this result although I actually thought we could do better. Having to face Superpole on a track that was drying out caught us off guard because we went out on track with a bike prepared for wet conditions. We were however constantly fast and I was able to score a good third place. I'm also pleased because we are at the end of the championship and am competing against very competitive riders that are fighting for the title. Tomorrow I'll start from the front row although we don't know what track conditions will be like. The practice sessions didn't tell us who can be fast in the dry but I believe that we are ready whatever the conditions."
Second row for Fabrizio in France
Pata Honda rider Michel Fabrizio will start tomorrow's 13th-round World Superbike championship race from the second row of the grid after setting the fifth fastest time in this afternoon's Superpole sessions at Magny-Cours in France.
With heavy overnight rain and showers right up to 15.00hrs, Superpole started with a wet track and was reduced to two 20-minute sessions, from which British rider Tom Sykes emerged in pole position.
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. The 29-year-old from Rome, Italy had to push hard on a qualifying tyre on his final lap to secure the second row starting position.
His Pata Honda team-mate Leon Haslam was one of the first riders out on intermediate tyres in the wet-dry conditions of Superpole 1 but crashed near the end of the session. 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.
Michel Fabrizio - P5
I didn't really have any problems apart from confidence and not knowing how hard to push on the wet track at the beginning of Superpole. The feeling was not so good but I knew that I really had to push on my last lap to improve my position. It was very important for me to start on the second row, so I'm very happy to be there. If it's dry tomorrow I think I could go with Giugliano and Laverty so I hope to have two good races.
Leon Haslam - P15
I went out with intermediates when others were on full wets and I hit a wet patch and crashed. I was able to go out again on the same tyres but made another big mistake with the one lap that I got and that was that. The pace was easy enough to stay with but I made a mistake with the crash and then another when I managed to get back out. We haven't had any more dry time today so it's hard to say whether we've made any progress. Tomorrow will be a gamble, wet or dry, so we'll have to see how it goes.
Pieter Breddels - technical co-ordinator
We struggled with rear grip in the wet this morning so have work to do there. It began to dry in Superpole and Leon was a little unlucky with the crash and then had two little moments which didn't allow him to improve. Michel managed to get fifth when the track was still not completely dry so well done to him and the team. We don't know what tomorrow will bring but we hope it's something good.