2014 Losail SBK Practice Results
Following a four-year hiatus, Losail International Circuit in Doha, Qatar, returned to the World Superbike schedule.
But this is the first time in World SBK history that the Qatar round was scheduled for the evening, all action occurring under the floodlights – just like in MotoGP. Due to the nighttime schedule, the schedule was altered, and three of four practices were held Friday evening.
And when the third free practice wrapped up around midnight in Qatar, Ducati Team’s Davide Giugliano was quickest overall, giving him the provisional pole. The Italian piloted his Ducati Panigale 1199 R to a 1:57.876 around the 3.34-mile circuit containing 16 corners.
The time was nearly four seconds quicker than Giugliano’s first-free practice time, showing quick progression the team made. The lap is only six tenths of a second off the Best Lap (under race conditions) set by Ben Spies in 2009 (Yamaha).
Joining Giugliano on the provisional front row is Pata Honda World Superbike’s Jonathan Rea, who trailed by 0.137 of a second, and Aprilia Racing Team’s Sylvain Guintoli (-0.290).
Davide Giugliano says “Today has been a difficult day but when you’re able to lap fast, as I did in the final session, then you can only be pleased. It’s really exciting to ride here at night and I’ve had fun, especially in the third session, having resolved the earlier problems.
“To be honest, I didn’t have too much trouble getting to grips with the ‘unusual’ conditions and although I expected the track conditions to worsen later on they remained pretty good throughout all three sessions. So I’m pleased with today’s result but now we have to see what we can do tomorrow – we’d like to make the bike a little more fluid and we also need to work on race pace.”
Guintoli, who trails WSBK leader Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) by 12 points, was followed his fellow Frenchman Loris Baz (Kawasaki Racing Team).
Next was Voltcom Crescent Suzuki’s Eugene Laverty and Alex Lowes were fifth and sixth, respectively. The GSX-R1000 RR pilots finished ahead of Ducati Superbike Team’s Chaz Davies.
Rounding out the top-10 in overall Friday practice times was Sykes, Pata Honda World Superbike Team’s Leon Haslam and Red Devils Roma Aprilia’s Toni Elias.
These top-10 riders automatically progress to Superpole 2.
Aprilia Racing Team’s Marco Melandri will have to run in Superpole 1 after finishing 11th overall following Friday practice. He was followed by Althea Racing Ducati’s Niccolo Canepa, who once again took top honors in the EVO class.
For the first time, Team Hero EBR’s Geoff May made it into Superpole. He finished 20th, nearly four seconds off the lead time.
The riders return to Losail Saturday evening for Superpole.