Phillip Island SBK Friday | Yamaha’s Guintoli on Provisional Pole (Video)

Phillip Island SBK Friday | Yamaha’s Guintoli on Provisional Pole
Yamaha's Sylvain Guintoli

Phillip Island SBK Friday Results

Phillip Island SBK Friday | Yamaha’s Guintoli on Provisional Pole
Yamaha’s Sylvain Guintoli

Yamaha’s official return to the World Superbike Championship began in the most optimal way Friday during free practice at Phillip Island in Australia.

The Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK YZF-R1 earned the provision pole with the 2014 WSBK Champion at the the controls. Guintoli, who also led the preseason World SBK Test in Australia, was quick throughout both hour-long free practice sessions. The Frenchman finished second in Free Practice 1 behind Kawasaki Racing Team’s Tom Sykes.

But in the second free practice, Guintoli was able to post the best time of 1:30.865, which was 0.384 of a second ahead of Honda World Superbike Team’s Michael van der Mark. Third fastest was Kawasaki Racing Team’s Jonathan Rea, the reigning champion.

Sylvain Guintoli says “I wasn’t expecting to be at the top of the times today but I’ll definitely take that! We have such a good base with the YZF-R1 even at the start of this project, especially the chassis and engine character, so it’s nice to know we can work up from here. We have spent a lot of the winter evaluating and assessing, and expected to be continuing this for the opening round at Phillip Island.

“This is my favorite track on the calendar so hopefully we can continue to improve as the weekend progresses and enjoy a good couple of races with the new split two-day schedule starting tomorrow.”

Ducati Davide Giugliano at Friday PI SBK Practice
Ducati’s Davide Giugliano

The top 11 riders all posted within a second of Guintoli, with all eight manufacturers represented. Sykes finished fourth fastest (- 0.498), followed by MV Agusta Reparto Corse’s Leon Camier (0-5.80); the sole American in the series, Honda World Superike’s Nicky Hayden (-0.610); Racing Ducati’s Davide Giugliano (-0.662); Racing Ducati’s Chaz Davies (-0.728); IodaRacing Team Aprilia’s Lorenzo Savardori (-0.860); Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK’s Alex Lowes (-0.960); and Althea BMW’s Markus Reiterberger (-0.968).

As per World SBK’s new practice schedule, the top 20 fastest riders in Friday’s second free practice automatically qualify for Saturday’s two 15-minute Superpole sessions. Race one follows on Saturday at 3 p.m. local time, and race 2 on Sunday also at 3 p.m.

2016 Phillip Island SBK Friday Practice Results

1Sylvain Guintoli01’30.865
2Michael van der Mark01’31.249
3Jonathan Rea01’31.324
4Tom Sykes01’31.363
5Leon Camier01’31.445
6Nicky Hayden01’31.475
7Davide Giugliano01’31.527
8Chaz Davies01’31.593
9Lorenzo Savadori01’31.725
10Markus Reiterberger01’31.792
11Alex Lowes01’31.825
12Román Ramos01’32.030
13Xavi Fores01’32.070
14Jordi Torres01’32.370
15Mike Jones01’32.476
16Alex De Angelis01’32.530
17Sylvain Barrier01’32.553
18Joshua Brookes01’32.704
19Toprak Razgatlioglu01’33.459
20Karel Abraham01’33.491
21Dominic Schmitter01’34.243
22Saeed Al Sulaiti01’34.861
23Peter Sebestyen01’34.909
24Imre Toth01’35.891