2014 Magny-Cours SBK Friday Practice
Free practice for the penultimate round of the 2014 World Superbike Championship got underway Friday at Magny-Cours in France.
Under sunny conditions, the first free practice held in the morning was a showdown between the series’ top rivals – the reigning World SBK Champion Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) and Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia Racing Team).
When the 45-minute session wrapped up, the Frenchman Guintoli – who trails points-leader Sykes by 31 points – was quickest, topping the Brit by 0.286 of a second.
But things got quicker in the second free practice held in the afternoon. Leading this session was Ducati Superbike Team’s Davide Giugliano, who improved on his morning pace by more than a second.
The Italian Ducati 1199 Panigale R pilot’s lap time of 1:37.866 was over a half-second quicker than Guintoli’s first free practice time.
“I’m pleased with how today has gone. We’ve tested some of the updates that the guys worked on during recent test sessions at Mugello and I must say that my feeling is positive. There haven’t been any huge revolutions but the changes seem to be making a difference,” Guigliano says.
“This afternoon, we were able to make a series of ten laps with consistently fast times and this is a good sign, although there’s more to do in order to be ready for the 21-lap races of course. My Panigale is working well and we seem to be in a good position right now – I hope this continues…”
When the second free practice ended, five different manufacturers finished in the top-six positions.
Giguliano finished 0.272 of a second ahead of Voltcom Crescent Suzuki’s Eugene Laverty – who joins the Drive M7 Aspar team in MotoGP for 2015 – and 0.286 of a second quicker than Guintoli.
Fourth quickest went to Pata Honda World Superbike’s Jonathan Rea (-.0291 of a second), who was followed by Aprilia Racing Team’s Marco Melandri (-0.585) and Sykes (0-652).
The top 10 was completed by Loris Baz (Kawasaki Racing Team), Chaz Davies (Ducati Superbike Team), Alex Lowes (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki) and Leon Haslam (Pata Honda World Superbike Team)
Taking the top EVO class time was Althea Racing Ducati’s Niccolo Canepa, who finished 14th overall, 1.682 seconds behind.
For a preview of the round, visit 2014 Magny-Cours World Superbike Preview.