Superbikes - Sepang WSBK: Guintoli edges Sykes to take pole

Aprilia’s Sylvain Guintoli was able to hold off the charges of Kawasaki’s Tom Sykes to take his fourth career pole in the World Superbike qualifying session at a very hot Sepang track.


The Frenchman has been setting the pace all weekend and was able to better his best lap by nine-tenths of a second – with a super quick 2’03.012 that cemented his place on the number one spot on the grid.

Sykes left it till the dying seconds of the session to put down a 2’03.108 to go into second on the timesheets, followed by Ducati’s Davide Giugliano completing the front row.

Initially it was Guintoli who set the pace with a super quick 2’03.581 on only his first lap to put him top of the timesheets and in provisional pole. Elsewhere on the seven-minute mark Kawasaki’s Loris Baz and Voltcom Suzuki’s Alex Lowes were taking up the final spots on the provisional front row, but were still half a second off the pace of Guintoli.

Baz was on course to better his time, but the young Frenchman crashed on the final corner, ending his chances of pole. He will start from sixth on the grid. Baz will share the second row with the Aprilia of Marco Melandri and Red Devils Roma’s Toni Elias.

Voltcom Suzuki’s Eugene Laverty managed to save himself from high-siding his bike to hold on to take seventh. The Irishman is joined on the third row by Ducati’s Chaz Davies – who was one-tenth slower than the Suzuki. The Welshman is placed between the two Voltcom boys, with Lowes rounding off row three. The Pata Honda pairing of Jonathan Rea and Leon Haslam ended the afternoon in tenth and eleventh respectively.

At the start of Superpole one it was Lowes who was the quickest rider out on track, followed by a fellow Brit, BMW Italia’s Evo rider Leon Camier. With five minutes of the session remaining it was still Lowes and Camier who looked as if they were going to progress into Superpole two after setting the two fastest times.

Ayrton Badovini was on course to better the time clocked by Lowes with two minutes remaining but he crashed, unhurt ending his chances of progressing into the final Superpole session of the day. There was a flurry of activity with a minute to go, with Lowes and Althea Racing’s Niccolo Canepa snatching the top two places from Camier.

But as the chequered flag appeared, Kawasaki’s David Salom stormed to second after a 2’05.245, but was still two-tenths off the time of Lowes – who already secured his way into Superpole two, alongside the Spanish rider.

Alstare’s Christian Iddon had a solid final lap, but it was not enough to make an impact on the top two, and will start the races tomorrow from 15th on the grid after a 2’06.012. Camier failed to regain his second place on the timesheets, and the injured Kent rider could not better his best time of 2’06.184. He starts a row behind his fellow countryman in 16th.

1 50 S. GUINTOLI FRA Aprilia Racing Team Aprilia RSV4 Factory 2'05.291 2'05.096 2'03.921 2'03.002 SP2 2 1 T. SYKES GBR Kawasaki Racing Team Kawasaki ZX-10R 2'05.703 2'05.283 2'04.592 2'03.108 0.106 SP2 3 34 D. GIUGLIANO ITA Ducati Superbike Team Ducati 1199 Panigale R 2'05.926 2'05.278 2'04.332 2'03.137 0.135 SP2 4 24 T. ELIAS ESP Red Devils Roma Aprilia RSV4 Factory 2'05.222 2'05.340 2'04.778 2'03.160 0.158 SP2 5 33 M.MELANDRI ITA Aprilia Racing Team Aprilia RSV4 Factory 2'05.167 2'05.671 2'04.676 2'03.971 0.969 SP2 6 76 L. BAZ FRA Kawasaki Racing Team Kawasaki ZX-10R 2'06.177 2'05.950 2'04.900 2'04.027 1.025 SP2 7 58 E. LAVERTY IRL Voltcom Crescent Suzuki Suzuki GSX-R1000 2'06.867 2'05.356 2'05.091 2'04.263 1.261 SP2 8 7 C. DAVIES GBR Ducati Superbike Team Ducati 1199 Panigale R 2'05.964 2'05.448 2'04.967 2'04.343 1.341 SP2 9 22 A. LOWES GBR Voltcom Crescent Suzuki Suzuki GSX-R1000 2'06.856 2'06.089 2'05.664 2'04.433 1.431 SP2 10 65 J. REA GBR PATA Honda World Superbike Honda CBR1000RR 2'06.141 2'05.752 2'04.993 2'04.514 1.512 SP2

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