Cal Crutchlow on his Sterilgarda Yamaha R1 battled to the head of the pre-race rankings at the Magny-Cours round of World Superbike, taking a new track best of 1’37.699 in Superpole Three.
World SBK regular Sylvain Guintoli rode his Suzuki GSX-R1000 Alstare machine to second place at his home round, while Jakub Smrz and the Pata B&G Aprilia RSV4 racing team made it three different super bikes in the top three grid positions.
The front row for tomorrow’s motorcycle races was completed by new WSBK Champion, Max Biaggi on his Aprilia Alitalia RSV4 Factory bike, despite the Roman rider suffering from a cold.
Michel Fabrizio (Ducati 1198R Xerox Team) posted fifth best time in Superpole, followed by a rider who was only passed fit to race on Friday morning, Jonathan Rea (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda CBR1000RR). Rea rode wearing a special lightweight cast on his injured left wrist.
Carlos Checa (Althea Racing), the double winner in Imola, was a fine seventh, followed on the grid by the official machine of Noriyuki Haga (Ducati Xerox).
Troy Corser (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) made the top ten after another challenging period of practice, heading the third row with ninth best time.
Leon Haslam (Suzuki Alstare) was the final rider in the top ten. Ruben Xaus was 11th on his official BMW; Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) posted 12th best time, for the last position on the third row.
There were several Superbike riders who were not quite able to replicate their pre-Superpole form in the final couple of sessions, including eventual 13th place rider, Lorenzo Lanzi (DFX Corse Ducati).
Shane Byrne (Althea Racing), James Toseland (Yamaha Sterilgarda) and Luca Scassa (Supersonic Ducati) finished off the top 16 grid places.
Cal Crutchlow says: “It’s nice to be going into my last World Superbike race before I head off, with a pole position. It’s a good reward for Yamaha, they have put their trust and faith in me so to give them a pole is good and I want to make it a race win tomorrow that’s for sure. We’ve struggled with a few things over the weekend, but maybe found something in the Superpole. We’ll see tomorrow, it’s going to be entertaining!”
Sylvain Guintoli says: “What I wanted was the pole but unfortunately Cal just managed to get it ahead of me. Today was great, this morning when I was quickest in Q2 was good and I’m looking forward to tomorrow because I’ve been so close to the podium so many times this year. I really wish I can get my first one here in front of the French public, I’m going to push hard tomorrow, my race pace is good and I feel confident.”
Jakub Smrz says: “It was a really good day for me today and I am happy because in the last five races I have been three times on the first row. Unfortunately it’s the end of the season and we started with the Aprilia late and I didn’t achieve anything really good this season but let’s hope for a good race this weekend and a better start next year!”
Max Biaggi says: “I’m not feeling great but things were going OK. I’m pleased with the front row; I tried to get the pole but couldn’t do it. Tomorrow we’re going to be doing a lot of laps and that means wasting energy, which I hope to have. I hope the weather will be good and there won’t be any rain. I’ll try and get a result that will give Aprilia the Manufacturers’ title. That would be a great end to a fantastic season.”
WSBK Times: 1. Crutchlow C. (GBR) Yamaha YZF R1 1’37.699; 2. Guintoli S. (FRA) Suzuki GSX-R1000 1’37.768; 3. Smrz J. (CZE) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1’37.784; 4. Biaggi M. (ITA) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1’38.039; 5. Fabrizio M. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 1’38.082; 6. Rea J. (GBR) Honda CBR1000RR 1’38.155; 7. Checa C. (ESP) Ducati 1098R 1’38.252; 8. Haga N. (JPN) Ducati 1098R 1’38.421; 9. Corser T. (AUS) BMW S1000 RR 1’38.250; 10. Haslam L. (GBR) Suzuki GSX-R1000 1’38.327; 11. Xaus R. (ESP) BMW S1000 RR 1’38.364; 12. Sykes T. (GBR) Kawasaki ZX 10R 1’38.370; 13. Lanzi L. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 1’38.519; 14. Byrne S. (GBR) Ducati 1098R 1’38.538; 15. Toseland J. (GBR) Yamaha YZF R1 1’38.551; 16. Scassa L. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 1’38.585;
Kenan Sofuoglu (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) took his fifth pole of the season by posting a 1’41.372 lap in today’s second and final qualifying session. He will be followed off the grid by the only rider who can overhaul him in the season finale tomorrow, Eugene Laverty (Parkalgar Honda).
Katsuaki Fujiwara (Kawasaki Motocard.com) is third, because of his fast Friday time and French WSS legend Fabien Foret (Lorenzini by Leoni Kawasaki) is the final front row qualifier. Broc Parkes (Kawasaki Motocard.com) was fifth fastest. ParkinGO BE-1 Triumph rider David Salom is the quickest three-cylinder qualifier in sixth.
World Supersport Times: 1.Sofuoglu K. (TUR) Honda CBR600RR 1’41.372; 2. Laverty E. (IRL) Honda CBR600RR 1’41.813; 3.Fujiwara K. (JPN) Kawasaki ZX-6R 1’41.872; 4.Foret F. (FRA) Kawasaki ZX-6R 1’42.006; 5.Parkes B. (AUS) Kawasaki ZX-6R 1’42.086; 6.Salom D. (ESP) Triumph Daytona 675 1’42.091; 7.Pirro M. (ITA) Honda CBR600RR 1’42.163; 8.Roccoli M. (ITA) Honda CBR600RR 1’42.167;