Sylvain Guintoli got his home World Superbike
round off to a solid start by topping the timesheets during Friday qualifying at Magny-Cours. The factory Aprilia rider bested his championship rival, Kawasaki’s Tom Sykes, by almost four tenths on the day. BMW’s Chaz Davies rounds out the provisional front row for the penultimate round of the 2013 series.
Suzuki’s Jules Cluzel claimed fourth on the timing, with temporary teammate Vincent Phillippe a respectable seventh – the multiple World Endurance champ filling in for the injured Leon Camier. The GSX-Rs bookend Aprilia riders Eugene Laverty and Davide Giugliano, who placed fifth and sixth.
Laverty sits second in the points, the Irishman trailing Sykes by 23 after rebounding with three SBK wins in the past four races. The man rumored to be replacing him on the Aprilia next year, Marco Melandri, was eighth-fastest on the day aboard his BMW S1000RR.
Rain touched the track before the first qualifying session but did not worsen. The points leading Sykes and Guintoli, who trails the English rider by 24, are both adept in wet track conditions – each notching some of their first SBK wins in the rain. It’s an attribute that may come in handy, with precipitation in the forecast throughout the weekend.
2013 World Superbike Magny-Cours Friday Results:
1. Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia) 1'38.709
2. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) 1'39.095
3. Chaz Davies (BMW) 1'39.378
4. Jules Cluzel (Suzuki) 1'39.380
5. Eugene Laverty (Aprilia) 1'39.451
6. Davide Giugliano (Aprilia) 1'39.549
7. Vincent Philippe (Suzuki) 1'39.579
8. Marco Melandri (BMW) 1'39.678
9. Michel Fabrizio (Honda) 1'39.799
10. Michele Pirro (Ducati) 1'39.821
11. David Salom (Kawasaki) 1'40.085
12. Leon Haslam (Honda) 1'40.202
13. Ayrton Badovini (Ducati) 1'40.263
14. Lorenzo Lanzi (Ducati) 1'40.352
15. Toni Elias (Aprilia) 1'40.483
16. Mark Aitchison (Kawasaki) 1'41.137
17. Federico Sandi (Kawasaki) 1'41.281
18. Fabrizio Lai (Ducati) 1'42.474
19. Vittorio Iannuzzo (BMW) 1'43.180