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Oct 2, 2010

Crutchlow Wins World Superbike Superpole At Magny-Cours

Cal Crutchlow (35).
FIM Superbike World Championship
Magny-Cours, France
October 2, 2010
Final Qualifying Results, After Superpole (all on Pirelli tires):

From Superpole Three:

1. Cal CRUTCHLOW, Great Britain (Yamaha YZF-R1), 1:37.699
2. Sylvain GUINTOLI, France (Suzuki GSX-R1000), 1:37.768
3. Jakub SMRZ, Czech Republic (Aprilia RSV4 Factory), 1:37.784
4. Max BIAGGI, Italy (Aprilia RSV4 Factory), 1:38.039
5. Michel FABRIZIO, Italy (Ducati 1098F10), 1:38.082
6. Jonathan REA, Great Britain (Honda CBR1000RR), 1:38.155
7. Carlos CHECA, Spain (Ducati 1098R), 1:38.252
8. Noriyuki HAGA, Japan (Ducati 1098F10), 1:38.421 161,344

From Superpole Two:

9. Troy CORSER, Australia (BMW S1000RR), 1:38.250
10. Leon HASLAM, Great Britain (Suzuki GSX-R1000), 1:38.327
11. Ruben XAUS, Spain (BMW S1000RR), 1:38.364
12. Tom SYKES, Great Britain (Kawasaki ZX-10R), 1:38.370
13. Lorenzo LANZI, Italy (Ducati 1098R), 1:38.519
14. Shane BYRNE, Great Britain (Ducati 1098R), 1:38.538
15. James TOSELAND, Great Britain (Yamaha YZF-R1), 1:38.551
16. Luca SCASSA, Italy (Ducati 1098R), 1:38.585

From Superpole Three:

17. Max NEUKIRCHNER, Germany (Honda CBR1000RR), 1:39.341
18. Ian LOWRY, Great Britain (Kawasaki ZX-10R), 1:40.278
19. Matteo BAIOCCO, Italy (Kawasaki ZX-10R), 1:40.890
20. Fabrizio LAI, Italy (Honda CBR1000RR), 1:41.471

The Rest of the Grid:

21. Roger HAYDEN, USA (Kawasaki ZX-10R), 1:41.094




More, from a press release issued by BMW Motorrad Motorsport:

Magny-Cours - Qualifying Practice 2 & Superpole.
Saturday, 02 October 2010.

Weather conditions: Scattered clouds.
Temperature: Air: 19 - 24 °C, Track: 22 - 40 °C
Number of riders participating: 21 from 13 teams
Fastest lap Qualifying Practices: Sylvain Guintoli (Althea Racing) 1:38.300 min
Fastest lap Superpole 3: Cal Crutchlow (Sterilgarda Yamaha Racing) 1:37.699 min

There are a couple of question marks for Team BMW Motorrad Motorsport after Saturday's Superpole Qualifying in Magny-Cours (FRA). With the top sixteen riders within eight tenths of a second, the Superpole Qualifying was one of the closest ever of the 2010 season. Both riders,Troy Corser (AUS) and Ruben Xaus (ESP), complained about a lack of grip and will start Sunday's races from the third row of the grid. While Troy qualified ninth and is in a good position for the start tomorrow, Ruben finished the Superpole Qualifying 11th .


Troy Corser:
Bike: BMW S 1000 RR
Fastest lap Qualifying Practices: 1:38.801 min / Fastest lap Free Practice: 1:39.508 min /
Fastest lap Superpole 2: 1:38.250 min
"Tomorrow will be a really tough day for us. We definitely need to get a good start. When you approach the first hairpin you really want to be in a good position, as you can lose a lot of time there. We still need to find more grip. We have tried everything on the bike to get more grip, but whatever we tried did not work out. This is quite confusing. Nevertheless, we will have a look at the data and see what we can do for tomorrow."


Ruben Xaus:
Bike: BMW S 1000 RR
Fastest lap Qualifying Practices: 1:38.793 min / Fastest lap Free Practice: 1:39.748 min /
Fastest lap Superpole 2: 1:38.364 min
"I am slightly disappointed with the outcome today. We have been improving all weekend and our pace on race tyres has been good. Sadly we are still suffering from some grip issues when the bike is on the edge of the tyre, which is preventing me from posting a really good lap time. Still I know we have a good race pace and, given a good start tomorrow, I think we can be up there with the leading pack. The pace in this championship has been so good all year, so we know it is not going to be easy tomorrow. But my team will do everything it can to give me what I need to hopefully finish the year on a high."


Rainer Bäumel (Technical Director Team BMW Motorrad Motorsport):
"This was a tough day for us. Starting from the third row will be tough as well, and we need to make good starts in the races. Troy's starting position is not too bad: Although he will go into the races only from the third row, he will be able to enter the first corner from the outside. It seems as if the grip level has dropped from yesterday to today. While Ruben generally handles this situation well and has had a good pace all weekend long, Troy especially is suffering a lot. We again consider some chassis changes to improve the grip."




More, from a press release issued by Althea Racing:

Magny-Cours, 2nd October 2010 The starting grid for the final races of the 2010 World Superbike Championship was established this afternoon at the French circuit of Magny-Cours. The fastest twenty riders in qualifying, including both of Team Althea Racing's riders, took part in the Superpole.

After the double win at Imola, Carlos Checa prepares for the last two races; with two strong results he could close the championship in third position. For this reason, the 37-year old Spanish rider will aim for two podium finishes. He will line up tomorrow on the second row of the grid, thanks to the seventh fastest time registered in today's Superpole (1'38"252).

"I'm very satisfied with how the day went", reveals Carlos. "Yesterday we were having a bit of difficulty with the set-up but today, thanks to the team's hard work, I was riding a much more manageable and reactive bike. I'm not having any real problems in the fast turns and slow corners anymore and so I am very confident. We lose a little in acceleration compared to the four cylinders but I think that tomorrow, if we stick with them, we'll be able to make another great race. We have a similar pace to our main rivals and I feel very prepared"¦"

Shane Byrne was also able to significantly improve on yesterday's performance, dropping his lap times by more than a second quicker. This was unfortunately not enough to move him up the timesheets but definitely served as a morale boost after a difficult first day yesterday.

"We are all recording very similar times", said the English rider. "I was faster this morning but my rivals also picked up the pace and so I wasn't able to improve my grid position. Tomorrow's races will be hard fought but I am confident and think that I can fight for the positions that count. We have great race pace and I will give it my all because I would love to finish the year with a strong result. The team? They have done a great job, as ever. Now I need to repay them with a top notch performance; I feel ready to get out on track."

Tomorrow's Superbike races start at 12.00 and 15.30.




More, from a press release issued by Xerox Ducati:

THE TWO DUCATI XEROX RIDERS SECURE SECOND ROW SPOTS IN TODAY'S SUPERPOLE AT MAGNY-COURS

Magny-Cours (France), Saturday 2nd October: the French public were witness to a hard-fought Superpole this afternoon at the Magny-Cours circuit. Michel Fabrizio (Ducati Xerox) will start tomorrow's races from fifth position, having missed out on the front row by mere hundredths of a second, while his team-mate Noriyuki Haga, also on the second row, will line up in eighth place.

Rain overnight meant that the track was still damp for this morning's second qualifying session, and this prevented yesterday's fastest riders from lowering their best times until the final fifteen minutes. Almost all of the quickest laps were recorded in the final stages and this was also the case for the Ducati Xerox riders.

Noriyuki managed to marginally improve on his best time set yesterday but, with thirteen riders ducking under 1m39 this morning, the Japanese rider had to be satisfied with sixteenth position. Michel, already second yesterday, had even better pace this morning and in the last five minutes of the session was able to improve on his time by half a second, to qualify for the afternoon's Superpole in second place.

Conditions were much warmer for the afternoon sessions with a track temperature of around 38°C. Michel and his team worked well to improve grip, lost due to the hotter track conditions. Noriyuki, just minutes into the session, unfortunately took a fall at the 18th corner but, although travelling at a fairly fast speed, the rider was unhurt. Haga went straight back out on his second bike but, incredibly, the same thing happened again and although unhurt, it meant he was temporarily left without a bike. Noriyuki's technicians worked extremely hard to prepare the only bike that was returned to the garage in time for the Superpole.

Superpole 1: both Noriyuki and Michel made a first exit on race rubber. To be safe, the pair went out for a second time (the Japanese rider on a qualifier), and closed well within the top sixteen, in third (Fabrizio) and eighth (Haga) place.

Superpole 2: this time the Roman rider opted to use the first of two qualifiers available to him, recording a time fast enough to place him well within the top eight, in fifth. Noriyuki made a first exit on the used Q from session one, followed by a second exit on the second Q, finishing the second phase in sixth position.
Superpole 3: with only race tyres left, Noriyuki had to push as hard as possible in the final phase. Michel, making a first exit on the used qualifier from the second phase, recorded the fifth fastest time. He went back out for a last attempt on race rubber and recorded a very fast lap which bodes well for the races, closing in fifth position, with Noriyuki eighth.

Michel Fabrizio
"Another positive day for us overall. We know we have a good race pace and this gives me confidence. We've worked well and, even though I would have liked to make the front row, fifth position isn't bad. I wasn't able to make the clean lap that I needed but I'm nevertheless fairly satisfied as we've been fast in all of the sessions this weekend and I feel prepared for tomorrow."

Noriyuki Haga
"Obviously the two crashes didn't help us at all because they meant that my technicians had only a few minutes in which to prepare my bike for the Superpole. They were fantastic and, bearing in mind they had to do so much in so little time, I am also satisfied with the second row result. The crashes were similar, in that I lost the front on both occasions; luckily I was not hurt and I'd say I'm confident for tomorrow. We've been lucky with the weather up until now so now we just have to hope it doesn't rain tomorrow either."




More, from a press release issued by Alitalia Aprilia:

Max Biaggi will start from the first row in the last Gran Prix of the season at Magny Cours. The World Superbike champion is confident about tomorrow's races which could earn the manufacturer title for Aprilia.

Magny Cours, 2 October 2010 The times never lie, so the Aprilia Alitalia Racing Team has plenty to be satisfied about watching the clock today. The brand new world champion, Max Biaggi, left his mark on the Saturday activities, stopping the clock with excellent times right from the beginning of the morning.

Saturday's Superpole at Magny Cours saw him come through in first place for the first two sessions, which decide which eight riders will battle it out in the decisive third session. Once in the final Superpole round, the Roman champion stopped the clock at 1'38.039, a time which earned him a spot on the first row with fourth place.

The two races tomorrow promise extremely heated competition. All weekend we have watched sessions characterised by narrow gaps in which Max Biaggi has always managed to shine. So the Italian team's hopes rise: the first world manufacturer title for Aprilia in Superbike draws ever closer, especially since the weather seems to be smiling down on Max and his RSV4.

"Compared to last weekend at Imola, things began decisively better here confirms Max Biaggi We're fast, we are working well and if we can shave off just a little more I will have an excellent chance at staying up front and battling with the best riders. Unfortunately I'm still not at 100% physically. The races are long and they could prove to be tiring for me. I really want to give my best. After the rider championship it would only be right to close out the season earning the manufacturer title as well."




More, from a press release issued by Yamaha:

Sixth Superpole for Crutchlow at Magny Cours

Yamaha Sterilgarda World Superbike rider Cal Crutchlow wrapped up his final Superpole in World Superbike in style this afternoon, taking his sixth pole position start of the year and breaking the lap record in the process. Having set the fastest time of the Superpole sessions, Crutchlow stayed out for a further three laps on his qualifier tyre, shadowing rival Max Biaggi to ensure the Italian rider did not get away and take a faster time. The previous lap record of 1'37.709 was held by 2009 World Superbike Champion Ben Spies on the Sterilgarda Yamaha R1. Crutchlow's fastest time this afternoon to beat that on his qualifier was a time of 1'37.699.

Crutchlow's team mate James Toseland started Superpole well, making it through the first session in tenth using a race tyre before switching to the qualifiers for the second heat. Unfortunately the British rider's front tyre was unable to match the grip offered by the super sticky rear, leaving him unable to break into the top eight for the final session. As a result Toseland will start from fifteenth on the grid for tomorrow's two races at the Magny Cours circuit.

Cal Crutchlow, Yamaha Sterilgarda World Superbike Team, (1st, 1'37.699)
"It's nice to be going in to my last Superbike race before I head off to Moto GP with a pole position. It's a good reward for Yamaha they've put their trust and faith in me for the next two years so it's good to deliver for them. I want to make it two race wins tomorrow for sure, it's taken a while to find race pace this weekend, maybe we've found something in the Superpole, we'll see tomorrow and I'm hoping for two good races. I sat behind Max, if he tried to go and take pole away I was going to try and get ahead of him into one of the hairpins and go faster."

James Toseland, Yamaha Sterilgarda World Superbike Team, (15th, 1'38.551)
"We had one front tyre in for all Superpole sessions, when we put the new Pirelli qualifier in it was the first time we've used it as we didn't get a chance at Imola. It's quite a lot better than the old one so we had much more grip on the rear than the front. It was ok for the first session but just didn't hold out for the second, I lost nearly half a second on it and lost the front a couple of times and had to pick it up on my knee. We've got a pretty good race set up so if we can get a good start tomorrow and keep out of trouble for the first couple of laps we'll be alright and up there."

Massimo Meregalli, Yamaha Sterilgarda World Superbike Team Manager
"It was a great lap by Cal, beating the record set by Ben last year. He really showed his confidence and in the last few laps I think he was trying to measure our performance against the Aprilia, following Biaggi round the track. I think tomorrow will be two really interesting races. James unfortunately missed the last Superpole but he is a racer and if he can get a good start tomorrow he can be at the front and fighting for the podium."




More, from a press release issued by Hannspree Ten Kate Honda:

Rea stuns with sixth for Magny-Cours second row

Jonathan Rea confounded seasoned World Superbike championship observers today by snatching a gutsy second row start on the grid for tomorrow's final two races of the 2010 series at Magny-Cours in France.

The Hannspree Ten Kate Honda rider, who broke his wrist and dislocated his collarbone just a week ago at Imola in Italy, made it through to the Superpole knockout stages of qualification, setting the sixth fastest time in Superpole 3 less than half a second off Cal Crutchlow's pole position time and a tenth away from a front row start.

Rea's crew sent him out on a race tyre for the opening Superpole session, saving his two allotted qualifying tyres for the latter stages. The 23-year-old from Northern Ireland duly delivered, improving his chances of retaining third place overall in the championship standings in tomorrow's two 23-lap races around the 4.411km Magny-Cours circuit.

His Hannspree Ten Kate Ho nda team-mate, Max Neukirchner, qualified 17th fastest today after struggling to keep his Honda CBR1000RR on a line through some of the tighter Magny-Cours turns. The German is still optimistic of an improvement in his machine's handling in tomorrow morning's warm-up.

Jonathan Rea P6, 1m38.155s

Well, I made it through to Superpole 3, which I was surprised but really, really, happy about. Last Tuesday, we were still making the decision about whether to come to Magny-Cours, but my surgeon and physio hooked me up with a cast that I can ride with. I couldn't have done it without them and the guys in Clinica Mobile, who have been strapping my shoulder every session. You know, it's hard to believe what we've just achieved given the state I'm in, but I want to thank all my team. They've kept my spirits up and been patient with me on the bike when I've been doing a bit of moaning about being sore, but we pulled it out of the bag. We took a bit of a gamble not going out on a qualifier until Superpole 2 but it worked and I ended up having a Q for the last session. I didn't make the most of it and messed up on my first lap but second row is a lot more than I expected and thanks to everybody that got me in.

Max Neukirchner P17, 1m39.341s

We tried a different swingarm today and it definitely improved the grip levels on the side of the tyre but we still have the problem of the bike not holding a line when I let it off the brakes. It's a particular problem at the tighter turns here at Magny-Cours, where I believe I am losing maybe two tenths each time around. It's something we'll try to work on for warm-up in the morning and then, hopefully, I'll be able to stay with the guys in front and see what happens.

Ronald ten Kate team-manager
I think Jonathan deserves a lot more than just a big compliment today. To put the bike on the second row with the injuries he has and only a tenth off the front row is really amazing stuff. We arrived here without even being sure if he could be on the bike, but after two days on it he has shown some incredible determination and will-power to do what he did. Max still has some work to do but hopefully he and his crew can improve things to try for a couple of decent results tomorrow.




More, from a press release issued by Infront Motor Sports:

Crutchlow throws a well earned six

Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha Sterilgarda) battled to the head of the pre-race rankings at Magny-Cours, taking a new track best of 1'37.699 in Superpole Three. Series regular Sylvain Guintoli (Suzuki Alstare) rode to second place at his home round, while Jakub Smrz (Pata B&G Aprilia) made it three different bikes in the top three grid positions. The front row for tomorrow's races was completed by new champion, Max Biaggi (Aprilia Alitalia), despite the Roman rider suffering from a cold.

Michel Fabrizio (Ducati Xerox Team) posted fifth best time in Superpole, followed by a rider who was only passed fit to race on Friday morning, Jonathan Rea (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda). Rea rode wearing a special lightweight cast on his injured left wrist.

Carlos Checa (Althea Racing), the double winner in Imola, was a fine seventh, followed on the grid by the official machine of Noriyuki Haga (Ducati Xerox). Troy Corser (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) made the top ten after another challenging period of practice, heading the third row with ninth best time. Leon Haslam (Suzuki Alstare) was the final rider in the top ten. Ruben Xaus was 11th on his official BMW; Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) posted 12th best time, for the last position on the third row.

There were several riders who were not quite able to replicate their pre-Superpole form in the final couple of sessions, including eventual 13th place rider, Lorenzo Lanzi (DFX Corse Ducati). Shane Byrne (Althea Racing), James Toseland (Yamaha Sterilgarda) and Luca Scassa (Supersonic Ducati) finished off the top 16 grid places.

Cal Crutchlow: "It's nice to be going into my last World Superbike race before I head off, with a pole position. It's a good reward for Yamaha, they have put their trust and faith in me so to give them a pole is good and I want to make it a race win tomorrow that's for sure. We've struggled with a few things over the weekend, but maybe found something in the Superpole. We'll see tomorrow, it's going to be entertaining!"

Sylvain Guintoli: "What I wanted was the pole but unfortunately Cal just managed to get it ahead of me. Today was great, this morning when I was quickest in Q2 was good and I'm looking forward to tomorrow because I've been so close to the podium so many times this year. I really wish I can get my first one here in front of the French public, I'm going to push hard tomorrow, my race pace is good and I feel confident."

Jakub Smrz: "It was a really good day for me today and I am happy because in the last five races I have been three times on the first row. Unfortunately it's the end of the season and we started with the Aprilia late and I didn't achieve anything really good this season but let's hope for a good race this weekend and a better start next year!"

Max Biaggi: "I'm not feeling great but things were going OK. I'm pleased with the front row; I tried to get the pole but couldn't do it. Tomorrow we're going to be doing a lot of laps and that means wasting energy, which I hope to have. I hope the weather will be good and there won't be any rain. I'll try and get a result that will give Aprilia the Manufacturers' title. That would be a great end to a fantastic season."

Times: 1.Crutchlow C. (GBR) Yamaha YZF R1 1'37.699; 2.Guintoli S. (FRA) Suzuki GSX-R1000 1'37.768; 3.Smrz J. (CZE) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1'37.784; 4.Biaggi M. (ITA) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1'38.039; 5.Fabrizio M. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 1'38.082; 6.Rea J. (GBR) Honda CBR1000RR 1'38.155; 7.Checa C. (ESP) Ducati 1098R 1'38.252; 8.Haga N. (JPN) Ducati 1098R 1'38.421; 9.Corser T. (AUS) BMW S1000 RR 1'38.250; 10.Haslam L. (GBR) Suzuki GSX-R1000 1'38.327; 11.Xaus R. (ESP) BMW S1000 RR 1'38.364; 12.Sykes T. (GBR) Kawasaki ZX 10R 1'38.370; 13.Lanzi L. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 1'38.519; 14.Byrne S. (GBR) Ducati 1098R 1'38.538; 15.Toseland J. (GBR) Yamaha YZF R1 1'38.551; 16.Scassa L. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 1'38.585;


World Supersport

Kenan Sofuoglu (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) took his fifth pole of the season by posting a 1'41.372 lap in today's second and final qualifying session. He will be followed off the grid by the only rider who can overhaul him in the season finale tomorrow, Eugene Laverty (Parkalgar Honda). Katsuaki Fujiwara (Kawasaki Motocard.com) is third, because of his fast Friday time and French WSS legend Fabien Foret (Lorenzini by Leoni Kawasaki) is the final front row qualifier. Broc Parkes (Kawasaki Motocard.com) was fifth fastest. ParkinGO BE-1 Triumph rider David Salom is the quickest three-cylinder qualifier in sixth.

Times: 1.Sofuoglu K. (TUR) Honda CBR600RR 1'41.372; 2. Laverty E. (IRL) Honda CBR600RR 1'41.813; 3.Fujiwara K. (JPN) Kawasaki ZX-6R 1'41.872; 4.Foret F. (FRA) Kawasaki ZX-6R 1'42.006; 5.Parkes B. (AUS) Kawasaki ZX-6R 1'42.086; 6.Salom D. (ESP) Triumph Daytona 675 1'42.091; 7.Pirro M. (ITA) Honda CBR600RR 1'42.163; 8.Roccoli M. (ITA) Honda CBR600RR 1'42.167;


Superstock 1000

Maxime Berger (Ten Kate Junior Honda) eased out his countryman Sylvain Barrier (Garnier Junior Team BMW) by a whisker to take pole at Magny-Cours. Champion Ayrton Badovini (BMW Motorrad Italia STK) fell late in today's final qualifying session, but starts from the front row in third position in any case. David Giugliano (Team06 Suzuki) posted fourth best time for a front row start, with Loris Baz (MRS Racing Yamaha) fifth, the third French rider in the top five positions.

Times: 1.Berger M. (FRA) Honda CBR1000RR 1'41.676; 2.Barrier S. (FRA) BMW S1000 RR 1'41.697; 3.Badovini A. (ITA) BMW S1000 RR 1'41.762; 4.Giugliano D. (ITA) Suzuki GSX-R 1000 1'42.127; 5.Baz L. (FRA) Yamaha YZF R1 1'42.557; 6.Millet J. (FRA) BMW S1000 RR 1'42.600; 7.Baroni L. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 1'42.657; 8.Petrucci D. (ITA) Kawasaki ZX 10R 1'42.718;


Superstock 600 - Race

Australia's Jed Metcher (MTM Yamaha) set a new lap record in the Superstock 600 championship race, on his way to taking a surprise first win after a collision between already crowned champion Jeremy Guarnoni (MRS Racing Yamaha) and Stephane Egea (Team ASPI Yamaha) near the end saw them crash out. Berardino Lombardi (Martini Corse Yamaha) was an unexpected second and Tony Covena (Econocom Yamaha) third. Lombardi is now finally third in the championship rankings.

Results: 1.Metcher J. (AUS) Yamaha YZF R6 17'35.250 (150,482 kph); 2.Lombardi B. (ITA) Yamaha YZF R6 5.913; 3.Covena T. (NED) Yamaha YZF R6 12.227; 4.Elliott J. (GBR) Kawasaki ZX-6R 13.236; 5.Duwelz G. (BEL) Yamaha YZF R6 14.396; 6.D'Annunzio F. (ITA) Yamaha YZF R6 15.279; 7.Vd Mark M. (NED) Honda CBR600RR 15.492; 8.Calero Perez N. (ESP) Yamaha YZF R6 22.174;

Points (after 10 rounds of 10): 1. Guarnoni 187; 2. Marino 159; 3. Lombardi 109; 4.D'Annunzio 92; 5. Fanelli 80; 6.Covena 69; 7.Lanusse68; 8.Karlsen 65; 9. Calero Perez 59; 10.Elliott 44




More, from a press release issued by Kawasaki:

Sykes On Row Three And Ready For Season Finale

Ninja ZX-10R rider Tom Sykes will start the last two races of the 2010 season from 12th position on the Magny-Cours grid, after an incredible close period of Superpole qualifying.

After combined qualifying, and before the start of Superpole, Sykes had qualified only 0.565 seconds from provisional pole, and was second quickest in Superpole One. He is therefore confident he can have the pace to run near the front on raceday, if he makes good starts at this 4.411km circuit.

Ian Lowry, Tom's team-mate once again, qualified into the Superpole sessions and went 18th on the grid. In only his third WSBK race meeting, Ian was just over two seconds from the fastest rider in pre-Superpole combined qualifying.

The threat of rains during qualifying at Magny-Cours proved to be false, and both days of practice were held in dry conditions, allowing the KRT technical staff to make progress with set-up and potential tyre choices for Sunday's 23 lap races.

Tom Sykes: "We made a 1'38.3 lap in Superpole and we are on the third row, close to the others on lap times, so we are still meeting our targets. We are only half a second off the front so I am happy enough. And I think we got the most out of the bike and tyre combination, and the team worked well. If we can make sure we have a good set-up for tomorrow we can get stuck in and have two good races. We are pretty much set on which tyres to use and we have not left many stones unturned. We have a lot of information now."

Ian Lowry: "We are coming closer and closer. I made it into Superpole and we got to use the qualifying tyres. They definitely have more grip but I could not use them to the full and I went 0.3 of a second faster on race tyres. I am well clear of the group behind me and I'm setting similar times to Max Neukirchner, then there is a group in front of us. If I can dice with Max in the race we will have made good steps. I want to have two good races and finish the season on a high."




More, from a press release issued by Team Suzuki News Service:

Team Suzuki Alstare rider Sylvain Guintoli missed out on a fairytale 'home' Superpole victory by the narrowest of margins for the final World Superbike Championship round at Magny-Cours in France today.

The Frenchman was battling it out with Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha) and Jakub Smrz (Aprilia) in final Superpole, but lost out to Crutchlow by just 69/1000ths-of-a-second in one of the most dramatic sessions of the season. However, second on the grid is Guintoli's best result this year and now he wants to take advantage of his position and battle for victory in both tomorrow's 23-lap races.

Team mate Leon Haslam had some problems with his number one bike in free practice and Superpole 1 so switched to his number two bike for Superpole 2. He had not put in many laps on this bike and a small clutch problem denied him the chance of getting into Superpole 1.But the young Briton is confident of making good starts, challenging the leaders; and taking a podium or two.

Briton Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha) won Superpole; his sixth of the season, with Guintoli second and Jakub Smrz (Aprilia) third.

Sylvain Guintoli - 2nd, 1:37.768:

"It's taken some time but I've got there in the end! I knew it was in me but I just had to find a way of getting it out. I'm a bit gutted that I didn't actually win Superpole because the gap between Cal and myself was so small. But a front-row grid position is a great place to be; especially in front of all my home fans.

"I felt really good today and I have been able to push very hard and that makes me happy. Throughout the season, I have been working on being in the position I am now and I really don't know why it has taken me so long. It's been pretty close at times, but I suppose that if I am to do it anywhere, then my home country is a good place to do it. It's the last race of the year. I've got nothing to lose so I will be going all-out for victory."

Leon Haslam - 10th, 1:38.327:

"In the free practice this afternoon, the engine on my number one bike didn't feel quite right. It was the same in Superpole 1, so I used my number two bike instead in Superpole 2. I hadn't done many laps on it and obviously it wasn't the same as my number one bike. There was a bit of a problem with the clutch, enough to prevent me from pushing as hard as I wanted to and that meant I couldn't get into final Superpole. Overnight, the team will change the engine and I will try it in the morning warm up. I'm sure it'll be OK and I will be able to fight for podiums.

"I'm pretty happy with my race set-up and our tyre choice is down to two, so we'll sort that out in the morning. Now that the title race is over, I have nothing to lose. I am feeling pretty confident and I will be going flat out to win both races and beat Max at the same time."

Final qualifying & Superpole: 1 Cal Crutchlow (GBR-Yamaha) 1:37.669, 2 Sylvain Guintoli (FRA-Suzuki Alstare) 1:37.768, 3 Jakub Smrz (CZE-Aprilia) 1:37.784, 4 Max Biaggi (ITA-Aprilia) 1:38.039, 5 Michel Fabrizio (ITA-Ducati) 1:38.082, 6 Jonathan Rea (GBR-Honda) 1:38.155. 10 Leon Haslam (GBR-Suzuki Alstare) 1:38.327.




More, from a press release issued by Team Pedercini:

Second day of qualifying in Magny Cours for team Pedercini's Superbike riders Roger Lee Hayden and Matteo Baiocco. During morning qualifying session Baiocco was able to improve his yesterday best lap time reaching the twentieth position and entering the Superpole. Team-mate Hayden today was forced to use his second bike because the first one was destroyed yesterday in a crash. Hayden improved his yesterday best lap time but he obtained only the twenty-first position, missing the Superpole. In the afternoon free practice the American rider worked with his team trying to solve some problems with the settings, which this morning didn't allow him to reach the Superpole. At the end of the free session he obtained the twenty-first place (1'41"936). Sixth row for him in tomorrow's races starting grid. Also Baiocco (1'41"866) worked with his technicians to be ready for the Superpole. In Superpole Baiocco was not able to reach the second phase (1'40"890) and he'll start from the fifth row of the grid in tomorrow's 23 lap races..

Superbike qualifying 2 : 1) Guintoli (Suzuki) 2) Fabrizio (Ducati) 3) Biaggi (Aprilia) - 4) Scassa (Ducati) - 5) Haslam (Suzuki) "¦.. 20) Baiocco (Kawasaki) - 21) Hayden (Kawasaki)

Superbike Superpole : 1) Crutchlow (Yamaha) - 2) Guintoli (Suzuki) 3) Smrz (Aprilia) 4) Biaggi (Aprilia) 5) Fabrizio (Ducati) "¦.. 19) Baiocco (Kawasaki) "¦"¦ 21) Hayden (Kawasaki)

Matteo Baiocco :"This morning I worked a lot with my team to find the right set up for my Kawasaki and I was able to improve my lap time and to enter the Superpole. During afternoon free practice we found a better setting and I'm confident for tomorrow races also if I did not reach the second phase of the Superpole. If I have a good start and follow the fast riders I can hopefully bring some points back home."

Roger Lee Hayden :" I'm really disappointed for my qualifying practice today. I was trying hard, but haven't been able to improve much. I'm still losing a lot of time in one sector because of some set up problems. Superpole was an attainable goal for me today and I know tomorrow's races will be very difficult starting from sixth row. But I'm still positive, also because this morning my race pace was pretty good and tomorrow I'll try my best to reach a good results".




More, from a press release issued by Team PATA/B&G Racing:

Jakub Smrz met expectations and qualified in front row, finishing third and is ready to upset the odds tomorrow. Aside from being fast, "Kuba" has also shown a good pace and a good control of the bike. This is good news for the team, who would like to end the season in style.

Lorenzo Baroni will start from row two, after posting the seventh fastest time. His goal is to score a good result, but making a good start will be crucial.

JAKUB SMRZ | Aprilia RSV4 | 3rd in 1'37.784: "I performed just as well as I did at Imola, it's front row for me again. I really have to thank the team and the Aprilia engineers for this, after a few races we found a good base setup, which allowed me to perform at my best and get a better understanding of the bike. I wish it didn't end now, I think I could still improve on this bike, if I only had a couple more races. My goal is to get a good start tomorrow. If I run in front, I'm sure I'll have a lot of fun"¦".

LORENZO BARONI | Ducati 1098R | 7th in 1'42.657: "I'll start from row two again, I'll try to get in the leading pack from the beginning. If I do that, I'll have the opportunity to score a very good result, I would love to end the season with a good performance".