SEPANG, Malaysia – With high track and air temperatures the first ever Tissot-Superpole at the Sepang International Circuit on Saturday was won by Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia Racing Team), who will start from pole position for the fourth time in his eni FIM Superbike World Championship career.
At the end of a hot and humid 15 minutes on track Guintoli secured his second Superpole of the year, winning the grid deciding battle by a margin of 0.106s courtesy of a 2:03.002 lap time set in the closing stages.
“The weekend has been perfect so far but tomorrow’s results are the ones that really count,” Guintoli said. “I trained well and I was ready for the extreme heat.
“I have to say that I feel better on the bike with race tires. I’m happy, the RSV4 is working really well here and we can take the best out of it. I’m really enjoying riding the bike and I’m looking forward to tomorrow, even though there’ll be two difficult races.”
Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) and Davide Giugliano (Ducati Superbike Team) complete the front row with Toni Elias (Red Devils Roma Aprilia), Marco Melandri (Aprilia Racing Team) and an unlucky Loris Baz (Kawasaki Racing Team), who crashed whilst on a potential Pole Position lap, making up row two in both of Sunday’s 16-lap encounters.
“We have been quite consistent all weekend and on race tires we are there or thereabouts,” Sykes said. “I feel we have learned something in the Superpole laps so we will hopefully put that to good use tomorrow.
“We were not too far away from our competitors and the times have been close, but we will try to work even more to improve the race set-up. I am hoping that we can be in quite a good position tomorrow for race distance and we just need to improve the general feel to utilize the bike a bit better in some corners.”
In the EVO category, the accolade of being the first classified competitor went to David Salom (Kawasaki Racing Team) who qualified 12th overall.
Alex Lowes (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki), ninth, and Salom were the first two classified riders in Superpole 1, progressing to the final shootout with the already seeded top 10 from the combined free practice sessions. Ayrton Badovini (Team Bimota Alstare) had been on course for one of the coveted top two places before the Italian fell, thankfully without injury.
Jules Cluzel (MV Agusta RC – Yakhnich Motorsport) claimed Pole Position in the first ever World Supersport event at Sepang.
An exciting 45-minute qualifying session saw many riders taking their turn at the top of the timesheet but at the flag, it was the Frenchman who won on his MV Agusta debut in Australia who secured the top spot on the grid for Sunday’s 14-lap race.
Joining him on the front row tomorrow will be Kev Coghlan (DMC-Panavto Yamaha) and championship leader Michael van der Mark (Pata Honda World Supersport Team).
Row two will comprise former champion Kenan Sofuoglu (Mahi Team India Kawasaki), Roberto Rolfo (Go Eleven Kawasaki) and a late charging Lorenzo Zanetti (Pata Honda World Supersport Team).
Wildcard rider Zaqhwan Zaidi (SIC Racing Team) sent the crowd into a frenzy with an incredible ride to seventh, just missing out on a second row start in the last moments of the session.
World Superbike Qualifying Times
1.Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia) 2:03.002 (162.378km/h)
2. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) 2:03.108
3. Davide Giugliano (Ducati) 2:03.137
4. Toni Elias (Aprilia) 2:03.160
5. Marco Melandri (Aprilia) 2:03.971
6. Loris Baz (Kawasaki) 2:04.027
7. Eugene Laverty (Suzuki) 2:04.263
8. Chaz Davies (Ducati) 2:04.343
9. Alex Lowes (Suzuki) 2:04.433
10. Jonathan Rea (Honda) 2:04.514
11. Leon Haslam (Honda) 2:05.202
12. David Salom (Kawasaki) 2:06.388
13. Niccolo Canepa (Ducati)
14. Claudio Corti (MV Agusta)
15. Christian Iddon (Bimota)
16. Leon Camier (BMW)
17. Sheridan Morais (Kawasaki)
18. Ayrton Badovini (Bimota)
19. Fabien Foret (Kawasaki)
20. Jeremy Guarnoni (Kawasaki)
–From the WSBK Press Office