Kawasaki's Tom Sykes took his ninth Tissot-Superpole of the season in the final round of competition at Magny-Cours.
Kawasaki’s Tom Sykes
took his ninth Tissot Superpole of the season in the final round of 2012 World Superbike competition at Magny-Cours. The British rider outpaced Althea Racing’s Carlos Checa
in the final session by 0.472 seconds, making him the only rider to dip below the 1’37 mark. Aprilia Racing’s Eugene Laverty
was third-fastest and BMW Motorrad’s Marco Melandri
rounds out the front row. Sykes set a circuit record with his performance, but knows he will have to maintain a strong pace on Sunday to gain any advantage on current points leader Max Biaggi of Aprilia Racing.
“It is nice to get another circuit record and it is something a little bit personal for me," said Sykes. "The challenge is good and I have a great team and manufacturer behind me who will help me achieve these goals, so I am very happy. I am starting the last race of 2012 from pole position so that is another little something that keeps me motivated for tomorrow, especially for my main rival on the third row. I am just happy that my team and Kawasaki have given me a good package to use once again.”
The day started well for title contenders Sykes, Melandri and Biaggi, with the BMW ace coming in fastest during the morning practice session, Sykes taking second and the Corsair finishing third. Biaggi then came out in SP1 and posted the top time, appearing to be on course to make the front row for Sunday’s races. The Aprilia rider was unable to maintain his pace through SP2 though and finished 10th, leaving him out of proceedings in SP3.
"I'm obviously a bit disappointed because I made a few mistakes in the fast lap with the qualifying tire that kept me from staying in the top eight," said Biaggi. "I won't dwell on what happened. It is already time to think about what to expect tomorrow. There is a risk of rain tomorrow and that could shuffle the deck since we haven't done even one lap in the wet this weekend. The important thing will be to start well and stay focused. Then we'll see what happens. I'll ride my own race and try to stay out front without making too many calculations."
Sykes has been a Superpole master all season, amassing more first-place starts than any other rider on the grid. He will be fighting for a win in Sunday’s races, and hoping for some slip in Biaggi’s game in order to make up the points needed to move into first overall and claim the 2012 World Superbike title. Melandri is also within reach of the top prize, sitting eight points behind Sykes in third.
Marco Melandri is riding with injuries to his back and ribs sustained during the previous round at Portimao.
"Superpole was very good for me because my physical condition is not the best," said Melandri. "To be on the front row is a big result for me. We could not expect that yesterday, so I am definitely happy. I was struggling with the qualifying tire because with the extra grip you can change direction faster but with my injury that was impossible. I am very happy about my RR. We worked well this weekend with the team."
PATA Racing’s Sylvain Guintoli heads up the second row, followed by Honda’s Jonathan Rea in sixth and Melandri’s teammate Leon Haslam in seventh. ParkinGO MTC Racing’s Chaz Davies finished SP3 in eighth.
FIXI Crescent Suzuki’s Leon Camier barely missed qualifying to the final round and will start Sunday from the front of the third row, with Biaggi right behind him in 10th. BMW Italia GoldBet’s Michel Fabrizio follows in 11th with Team Pedercini’s Claudio Corti holding to 12th.
Camier’s teammate John Hopkins continued to struggle with a hip injury he sustained earlier in the season and pulled out of the Superpole session early. The Suzuki team later announced that the American rider would be pulling out of the competition entirely as the demands of the course proved to be too strenuous on his injury.
World Superbike Magny-Cours Superpole 2012:
Max Biaggi will have to get a good start to contend with the lead pack on Sunday as he was unable to move past 10th during Saturday's Tissot-Superpole at Magny-Cours.
1. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) 1’36.950
2. Carlos Checa (Ducati) 1’37.422
3. Eugene Laverty (Aprilia) 1’37.516
4. Marco Melandri (BMW) 1’37.658
5. Sylvain Guintoli (Ducati) 1’37.901
6. Jonathan Rea (Honda) 1’38.252
7. Leon Haslam (BMW) 1’38.280
8. Chaz Davies (Aprilia) 1’38.425
9. Leon Camier (Suzuki) 1’38.072
10. Max Biaggi (Aprilia) 1’38.095
11. Michel Fabrizio (BMW) 1’38.318
12. Claudio Corti (Kawasaki) 1’38.516
13. Loris Baz (Kawasaki) 1’38.548
14. Maxime Berger (Ducati) 1’38.727
15. Davide Giugliano (Ducati) 1’38.807
16. Lorenzo Zanetti (Ducati) 1’39.354
17. Ayrton Badovini (BMW) 1’39.430
18. Hiroshi Aoyama (Honda) 1’39.430
19. John Hopkins (Suzuki) 1’40.538
20. Alexander Lundh (Kawasaki) 1’40.882
21. Norino Brignola (BMW) 1’42.461
Broc Parkes took pole position late in the World Supersport qualifying session at Magny-Cours on Saturday.
Ten Kate Racing’s Broc Parkes posted the fastest time in World Supersport qualifying at Magny-Cours, barely edging out Kawasaki Intermoto Step’s Fabien Foret. PTR Honda’s Jules Cluzel took third and was followed by 2012 World Supersport champion Kenan Sofuoglu of Kawasaki Lorenzini in fourth.
Parkes blasted past Foret in the final minutes of the session, besting the French rider’s time by 0.197. Foret had held the top spot for most of the contest, setting the pace in the opening minutes and then trading position with Parkes and Power Team by Suriano’s Alex Baldolini a few times before making a definitive move with 40 minutes left on the clock. He set his best time nearly half-way through the session and only put in eight laps in all. Parkes, on the other hand, logged 18 laps and with just three minutes remaining was able to get the best of Foret and score pole position.
Heading up the second row is PRORACE’s Gabor Talmacsi, followed by Sofuoglu’s teammate Sheridan Morais in sixth and Vittorio Iannuzzo of Power Team by Suriano in seventh. Team PATA by Martini’s Massimo Roccoli took eighth while Baldolini and MSD R-N Racing Team India’s Dan Linfoot finished ninth and 10th respectively.
World Supersport Magny-Cours Superpole 2012:
1. Broc Parkes (Honda) 1’41.545
2. Fabien Foret (Kawasaki) 1’41.742
3. Jules Cluzel (Honda) 1’41.866
4. Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki) 1’41.937
5. Sam Lowes (Honda) 1’41.943
6. Gabor Talmacsi (Honda) 1’42.108
7. Sheridan Morais (Kawasaki) 1’42.265
8. Vittorio Iannuzzo (Triumph) 1’42.440
9. Massimo Roccoli (Yamaha) 1’42.454
10. Alex Baldolini (Triumph) 1’42.499
11. Dan Linfoot (Kawasaki) 1’42.577
12. Ronan Quarmby (Honda) 1’42.630
13. Florian Marino (Kawasaki) 1’42.684
14. Vladimir Leonov (Yamaha) 1’42.714
15. Jed Metcher (Yamaha) 1’42.725