Although Cal Crutchlow has displayed remarkable pace all year long in qualifying, it remains to be seen if the Yamaha rider can maintain his speed throughout Sunday’s races.
pace to stay at the front in the two races tomorrow. Compared to some of his rivals he has not shown the same level of consistency, but with tire life unlikely to cause a problem for anyone, he will for sure play a part in tomorrow’s races.
“It’s my last race weekend in WSB so it’s nice to be on pole,” said Crutchlow. “There are a lot of people in the UK here at Magny Cours and it’s nice to have their support. It’s also a payback to Yamaha who have put a lot of faith in me over the last two years and also for the next two years in MotoGP.”
“I guarantee there will be two good races tomorrow. There are 17 guys that are really close and I look forward to entertaining the crowd.”
Frenchman Sylvan Guintoli secured his best qualifying performance of the year, much to the delight of his home crowd. The Alstare Suzuki rider claimed second spot and has the added incentive of a good result tomorrow given that he currently has no contract for a ride in 2011.
“It’s been a great day,” Guintoli said. ”We’ve been making progress all season and it’s good to do it here at my home race, even if I actually live in the UK. The feeling I have on the bike is good and I can push hard. I am happy with my race pace and I believe tomorrow will be a good day because I really want it.”
In front of his home crowd Suzuki’s Sylvain Guintoli earned his best qualification of the season in second.
Czech rider Jacob Smrz finally got to grips with his Aprilia after a tough transitional period since switching from Ducati back in Brno. Smrz has secured his second front row start in a row.
Despite still suffering the effects of the flu, Max Biaggi has been in impressive form all weekend and his Superpole performance was no exception. The 2010 WSB champion topped the timesheets in both Superpole 1 and Superpole 2 before securing fourth in Superpole 3.
“This is a track that has been good for us last year,” Biaggi said. “I finished on the podium in both races and I know we can do a good job. I am surprised at the lap times because it is so close, much closer than last year because then there was only three or four us doing similar lap times. Now seven-tenths separates over 12 of us and this made qualifying very exciting. One mistake will cost a lot.”
Hannspree Ten Kate rider Jonathan Rea surpassed even his own expectations by making it into Superpole 3 to qualify sixth on the grid. Rea, who is riding with a broken scaphoid and ligament damage plus a dislocated shoulder, said:
Only one goal remains for the 2010 world champion: to clench the first ever manufacturer title for Aprilia in Superbike.
“I’m running a shorter bike than I did yesterday and it’s helping me turn the bike. The grip from the track doesn’t feel as good today as it did yesterday but I’ve still been able to string some good laps together and I’ve done a race distance on a tire. My fitness for the race is still a question mark but I’m in a lot better shape than I thought I’d be in.”
Carlos Checa secured his place on the second row and remains confident that he can run at the front in the race despite losing out on top speed and hard acceleration to his four cylinder rivals. Fellow Ducati riders Michel Fabrizio and Noriyuki Haga have also shown impressive race pace but it was a day of high drama for Haga. The Japanese rider, who crashed yesterday, suffered another two crashes today but still made it into Superpole 3 where he secured eighth on the grid. The Xerox Ducati rider, who has brilliant form at the French track, crashed heavily when he lost the front the moment he hit the brakes exiting the down-hill left at the end of the lap.
In Supersport the championship leader, Kenan Sofuoglu, was in stunning form and has been the benchmark throughout qualifying. Title rival Eugene Laverty methodically chipped away at Sofuoglu’s advantage to secure second on the grid, but admitted that he has to ride harder than he would like and needs to make an improvement to his set-up during the morning’s warm-up.