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Phillip Island WSBK SuperPole Quote Machine
by nick rivers
Saturday, February 22, 2014

These just in:

WSBK Press Office

Guintoli claims first Tissot-Superpole of 2014

Phillip Island (Australia), Saturday 22 February 2014 - The first Tissot-Superpole of 2014 was contested today under cloudy skies, with Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia Racing Team) securing the first slot on the grid for the two debut races of the season, scheduled for tomorrow at Phillip Island. The 31 year old Frenchman set a new outright best lap of the Australian venue in 1'30.038during the final Superpole session, despite a small moment he had during his flying lap. The first race winner of last year got the better of Davide Giugliano (Ducati Superbike Team) by only a hundredth of a second, with the Italian rider continuing to impress on his first ever race weekend aboard his Ducati 1199 Panigale R.

Sylvain Guintoli: "My Aprilia worked very well and it is no secret that this is one of our favourite tracks. I really had a lot of fun today. It's a shame I couldn't get my time down to 1'29 - that would have been fantastic. The important thing is that we improved a lot throughout the weekend. My shoulder isn't giving me any problem so tomorrow I'll be able to push hard since, also considering our excellent race pace. I expect two good races. There are a lot of riders with good pace, but I hope to be able to use the RSV4 power to take the win."

Marco Melandri (Aprilia Racing Team) won the battle for the last spot of the first row by finishing third ahead of Voltcom Crescent Suzuki duo Eugene Laverty and Alex Lowes, whilst Jonathan Rea (Pata Honda World Superbike) claimed sixth place, followed by KRT paring of Loris Baz and Tom Sykes. The reigning Superbike World Champion missed the chance...(read more)

Eugene Laverty: "Second row! It's not quite the front, but we did our lap-time on a race tyre so to be right there at the head of the second row without a qualifier is definitely confidence inspiring. The qualifier just didn't work very well for us; we had some vibration causing us to lose the ability to flow. Race setting was good so the aim now is to try for a good start, stay with the Aprilias and fight for a podium in the first race of the season."

Tissot-Superpole 2 times: 1. Guintoli (Aprilia) 1'30.038 average 177.725 kph; 2. Giugliano (Ducati) 1'30.135; 3. Melandri (Aprilia) 1'30.332; 4. Laverty (Suzuki) 1'30.385; 5. Lowes (Suzuki) 1'30.421; 6. Rea (Honda) 1'30.660; 7. Baz (Kawasaki) 1'30.796; 8. Sykes (Kawasaki) 1'30.835; 9. Haslam (Honda) 1'31.138; 10. Canepa (Ducati) 1'31.274; 11. Davies (Ducati) 1'31.281; 12. Salom (Kawasaki) 1'31.950.

World Supersport

Kenan Sofuoglu (Mahi Racing Team India Kawasaki) claimed his career's 18th pole position today at Phillip Island as he lapped the 4.445 km Australian track in 1'32.769s during the World Supersport qualifying session. The three time World Champion was the only rider to break the 1'33s barrier, although not improving the best lap of the circuit set by Sam Lowes last year. Michael van der Mark (Pata Honda World Supersport) played catch up with the leader throughout the entire session, eventually... (read more)

Times: 1. Sofuoglu (Kawasaki) 1'32.769 average 172.493 kph; 2. Vd Mark (Honda) 1'33.021; 3. Tamburini (Kawasaki) 1'33.290; 4. Coghlan (Yamaha) 1'33.300; 5. Jacobsen (Kawasaki) 1'33.346; 6. Leonov (MV Agusta) 1'33.379; 7. De Rosa (Honda) 1'33.542; 8. Wilairot (Honda) 1'33.755; 9. Zanetti (Honda) 1'34.100; 10. Staring (Honda) 1'34.273; 11. Marino (Kawasaki) 1'34.276; 12. McConnell (Triumph) 1'34.392; etc.

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Aprilia:

POLE POSITION AND TWO APRILIA RSV4S ON THE FRONT ROW.

FIRST PLACE FOR SYLVAIN GUINTOLI, THIRD BEST TIME FOR MARCO MELANDRI.

APRILIA RACING TURNS UP AT PHILLIP ISLAND WITH A PERFORMANCE WORTHY OF ITS REIGNING MANUFACTURER WORLD CHAMPION TITLE.

Phillip Island (Australia), 22 Feb 2014 - Aprilia Racing turned up at the start of the first 2014 SBK race with a performance worthy of the Manufacturer World Champion title earned last season.

Sylvain Guintoli dominated Superpole on the Australian Phillip Island circuit, setting the track record and taking first place on the starting grid and Marco Melandri also rode his silver RSV4 to the front row, earning the third spot.

After the Friday and Saturday morning practice sessions, used to find the best setup and race pace, Sylvain Guintoli took his best shots in the 15 minutes of Superpole, moving into the lead in the second lap with a race tyre (at 1'30.696) and then, after being overtaken by Giugliano and team mate Melandri, he improved even more in his fifth good lap and on a qualifier, stopping the clock with an amazing time of 1'30.038 which broke the record for the magnificent Australian track and gave him the third pole of his career.

Despite an accident - with no consequences for the rider - which basically cost him all the times from the morning, and despite having spent the next free practice sessions trying to find the setup he lost with the wrecked bike, Marco Melandri rode a Superpole worthy of his name.
Sylvain Guintoli: "This winter was hard. After 4 months without riding a bike and only a little bit of testing I was concerned about my physical conditions. But my Aprilia worked very well and it is no secret that this is one of our favourite tracks. I really had a lot of fun today. It's a shame I couldn't get my time down to 1'29 - that would have been fantastic. The important thing is that we grew and developed throughout the weekend. My shoulder isn't giving me any problems so tomorrow I'll be able to push hard since we've also got an excellent race pace. I expect to have two good races. There are a lot of riders with good pace, but I hope to be able to use my RSV4's power to bring home the win".

Despite an accident - with no consequences for the rider - which basically cost him all the times from the morning, and despite having spent the next free practice sessions trying to find the setup he lost with the wrecked bike, Marco Melandri rode a Superpole worthy of his name. He even took a provisional lead at one point and in the end he landed a spot on the front row with the third best time (1'30.332). Overall an excellent performance and a nice way to start the races tomorrow.

Marco Melandri: "That was an incredible Superpole. After my crash in the test sessions the guys did an exceptional job fixing my RSV4. I had lost my feeling with it a little bit and before Superpole I admitted to my crew chief that I'd be happy if I made it into the top six. In all actuality I found a good feeling with the race tyre straight away and I put in an excellent lap, but with the qualifier I tried to push but I was struggling too much and went wide in Siberia. I'm happy to be here. Starting from the front will be fundamental tomorrow. I have a good race pace but it will be a battle with at least five other riders".

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Ducati

Giugliano (Ducati Superbike Team) scores a front row start for tomorrow's races at Phillip Island

Giugliano qualifies in second position in the first Superpole of the 2014 season, that took place today in Australia

Davies will start from eleventh position on tomorrow's grid

Phillip Island (Australia), Saturday 22 February 2014 - The Ducati Superbike Team can be satisfied by the performance put in by its rider Davide Giugliano, while Chaz Davies' grid position for tomorrow's races was unfortunately conditioned by an unexpected skid through the final corner. In this afternoon's first Superpole of the season, Davide Giugliano qualified second while Chaz Davies closed eleventh.

The lap times of all the Superbike riders began to drop in this morning's third and final timed practice sessions, held in dry conditions (air temperature 18°C, track 16°C). Ducati Superbike rider Giugliano improved on his best time set yesterday almost immediately and continued to lower his times throughout this final timed practice session. By session's end, he was in third position with a fastest time of 1'30.864. Davies, having lost valuable time during yesterday afternoon's session due to a crash, was back on track this morning, albeit a little sore, and was able to improve significantly, by eight tenths of a second, on his best time set yesterday to record a fastest time of 1'30.962 in the latter stages of the session. This time positioned him fourth at session's end, which meant that both Ducati Superbike riders, having closed inside the top ten, proceeded directly to this afternoon's Superpole 2.

A short free practice session in the early afternoon gave both Davies and Giugliano a final chance to prepare with their technicians for the all-important Superpole 2. The Ducati riders closed the 30-minute session in first (Davide) and sixth (Chaz) position respectively.

Superpole 2: Dry conditions for the first Superpole of the season. This year, the new qualifying format gives the fastest ten riders in the practice sessions, plus the fastest two riders from Superpole 1, the chance to battle it out for positions on the first four rows of the grid in this 15-minute session. Each rider has one qualifying tyre available for use during the session.

Having made a very fast lap (1'30.2) on race rubber, Giugliano returned to the garage to put in the qualifying tyre. Determined to ride his Panigale onto the front row, the Italian rider gave it his all to record an impressive lap time of 1'30.1 that was enough to place second. He held this position until the session's end, thus earning himself a key position on the front row of tomorrow's starting grid.

Davies also made a few laps with the race tyre. He too then went back on track with the qualifying tyre and pushed hard to record a fast time. Unfortunately, at the very last turn, the British rider almost lost the rear of his Panigale, losing valuable tenths in the process and closing the session with a best of 1'31.2. Consequently, Davies will line up on row four of tomorrow's grid, in eleventh position.

Quotes after the day's sessions:

Davide Giugliano - Ducati Superbike Team #34
"I'm really pleased with the work I've completed with my team over the last two days. Up until now we've had a good pace but we need to see what track conditions are like tomorrow and then see what we can do. We're very pleased to be able to start from the front row tomorrow and second place is an important result for us. I hope to be able to make a solid start - the start is one of strengths usually. I'm also happy with having made a 1'30.2 with the race tyre, it was a nice surprise when I saw that time appear on my dashboard. I'm feeling confident for tomorrow, and I'll be fighting hard to be part of the leading group."

Chaz Davies - Ducati Superbike Team #7
"It seemed like we had a few problems with the rear tyre through the last corners and I almost highsided coming out of the final turn, the tyre just seemed to run out of grip. This was disappointing as I was on a fast lap and would have moved up the grid a fair bit if it hadn't been for that. To be honest I didn't do a great job on the race tyre which probably hurt me, but then with the qualifier I lost a good half second through that final section. I think we're in a fairly good position as far as pace is concerned so I hope to be able to make a good start and make some passes early on. Having said that, it won't be easy starting from the fourth row."

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PATA Honda

Second row for Rea in Phillip Island opener

Pata Honda's Jonathan Rea will start tomorrow's two opening races of the 2014 FIM eni World Superbike championship from the second row of the grid after setting the sixth-fastest time in this afternoon's Superpole qualifying session at Phillip Island in Australia.

In the new-format, two-part Superpole, Rea's team-mate Leon Haslam took his Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP into Superpole 1 as the 12th fastest rider from the first three timed practices.

The 30-year-old British rider qualified comfortably fastest from Superpole 1 and joined Rea and the other nine quickest riders from the timed free practice sessions for the 15-minute Superpole 2 to determine the final positions for the first four rows of the grid. Haslam set the ninth-quickest time in Superpole two for a third row start tomorrow.

Pole position was taken by Sylvain Guintoli as Haslam and Rea, 27, improved on their best times from free practice with a single Pirelli qualifying tyre. However, the Northern Irishman lost some grip towards the end of his solitary flying lap on the softer rubber.

The first of tomorrow's two 22-lap openers at the 4.445km Phillip Island will start at 12.00 local time, with the second outing at 14.40.<

Jonathan Rea - P6 1m30.660s

Superpole went quite smoothly for us, really - no major problems apart from the fact that my qualifier really ran out of grip halfway through the lap. It meant the last two corners were a little bit...er, exciting! But we worked quite well today and I was really happy with our earlier free practice run when we worked solely on our race set-up. I'm not exactly sure about everyone else's pace but I think we've definitely moved forward from yesterday, which is good. I guess we'll know after 22 laps tomorrow if we've done our homework properly, but I'm quite happy with my choice of race tyre. The weather conditions and wind direction in warm-up tomorrow will determine our last-minute settings, but I'm really looking forward to getting the season underway. It's been a lo ng winter coming back from the injury last year and I want to thank everyone that has helped to get me back on to the grid again - they know who they are and hopefully we can do a good job for the whole Pata Honda team tomorrow.

Leon Haslam - P9 1m31.138s

It's a little disappointing after feeling really confident after the test here earlier this week. We put in a new specification engine yesterday, which is more powerful and a bit more aggressive. It's thrown a few little bugs into our plans and we've only been able to make a few steps back towards where we were in the test. I'd say we're around 50% of the way there and we made some more progress in those two Superpole outings. But, as I say, it's a little disappointing because in the test I was feeling really confident. On the positive side, we can see where the issues are and we just need to study the electronics to get them sorted. The chassis settings and tyres are exactly the same as we ran in the test and, apart from one or two other niggling little problems, I'm happy with all that.

Pieter Breddels--technical co-ordinator

It's not been an easy day for us, especially on Leon's side where we struggled to get the right electronics set-up. It has been harder for him to do the lap times compared to the test here and this seems to be connected to the difference in engine performance. We are on to something now and have already made some steps; if we can find something more tomorrow, I'm quite sure he can do the rest and find a few tenths because he has been quick since we got here. Jonathan was sixth, but we've had similar problems to Leon's. We still need to find a couple of tenths in the last sector and if we can get those he can still fight for the podium.

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Suzuki

VOLTCOM CRESCENT SUZUKI ON THE PACE

Team Suzuki Press Office - February 22.

Voltcom Crescent Suzuki racers Eugene Laverty and Alex Lowes qualified fourth and fifth respectively today in the first Superpole session of the 2014 eni FIM Superbike World Championship at Phillip Island in Australia.

Laverty, improving on the already consistent form shown this week, set a 1'30.385 early in the session to claim his position at the head of the second row. Finding his pace from the off, both his first and second flying laps were enough to challenge for the front of the grid; the Irishman set his fastest lap on a Pirelli race tyre and increased his confidence ahead of tomorrow's opening races.

Lowes continued his stellar performance shown on Friday, capturing the fastest time in the morning practice to secure his place in the afternoon's final Superpole. Even a heavy crash after just 25-minutes - which resulted in a dislocated ankle - couldn't stop the Englishman, as he dug deep to continue the day's events. He set the fourth fastest time in the final free practice, before taking on the top-11 riders for the battle for Pole Position. Lowes will have treatment overnight to make sure he is as fit as possible to take part in tomorrow's two races on-board his Yoshimura-powered Suzuki GSX-R.

Sunday will see Voltcom Crescent Suzuki begin the challenge for the 2014 World Championship at the Australian circuit. The first race is schedule to start at 12:00 local time (01:00 GMT) with race two at 14:40 local time (03:40GMT).

Eugene Laverty:

"Second row! It's not quite the front but we did our lap-time on a race tyre so to be right there at the head of the second row without a qualifier is definitely confidence inspiring. The qualifier just didn't work for us; we had some vibration causing us to lose the ability to flow. Race setting was good so the aim now is to try for a good start, stay with the Aprilias and fight for a podium in the first race of the season."

Alex Lowes:

"I'm frustrated more than anything. I think we've made some really good steps with the Suzuki GSX-R. Dale, Russell, Ash and Lez have worked really, really hard with the bike and Tim, Davide and the whole team have worked to give me the bike that I've wanted. We've improved every time that I've gone out, obviously I've made a mistake this morning--a small mistake but with big consequences and they've had to work really hard to get me back out, so fair play to them. I felt I did as good as I could do in the qualifying, my foot was holding me back a bit and I really need to work on that tomorrow because the bike is better than me at the moment and it's frustrating because I think we can do so much better. It's nice to be injured and still be fifth, I think people would have taken that if I was fit! I'm happy, I've been fast every session and I believe that I can go well and it's now a case of trying to get my ankle to the best that it can be and have two good races."

Paul Denning - Team Manager:

"Today has been tougher than yesterday, particularly with Alex's huge high-side this morning. The damage isn't too bad but a normal person would definitely still be in hospital waiting for treatment! Shifting gears is the biggest restriction along with coping with the pain, but he's done an amazing job so far to qualify fifth in his first ever World Superbike weekend. Alex is extremely fit and extremely tough and whilst the injury is going to be a restriction tomorrow I don't expect it to hinder him too badly.

"Eugene has been consistently quick on the GSX-R throughout the test and the race weekend and it was no different today. It's the first time that he has used a qualifier on this bike and unfortunately we just didn't have the setting right to capitalise, so in the end his best lap was set on the race tyre that we will choose for tomorrow, which definitely augurs well.

"I couldn't be prouder of the whole team and the riders and we are all looking forward to getting the 2014 championship underway tomorrow."

ENDS

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