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Jun 6, 2014

Guintoli Leads World Superbike Free Practice Two At Sepang

Sylvain Guintoli (50).

eni FIM Superbike World Championship

Sepang Circuit, Malaysia

June 6, 2014

Free Practice Two Results (all on Pirelli tires):

1. Sylvain GUINTOLI, France (Aprilia RSV4 Factory), 2:05.096

2. Davide GIUGLIANO, Italy (Ducati 1199 Panigale R), 2:05.278

3. Tom SYKES, UK (Kawasaki ZX-10R), 2:05.283

4. Toni ELIAS, Spain (Aprilia RSV4 Factory), 2:05.340

5. Eugene LAVERTY, Ireland (Suzuki GSX-R1000), 2:05.356

6. Chaz DAVIES, UK (Ducati 1199 Panigale R), 2:05.448

7. Marco MELANDRI, Italy (Aprilia RSV4 Factory), 2:05.671

8. Jonathan REA, UK (Honda CBR1000RR), 2:05.752

9. Loris BAZ, France (Kawasaki ZX-10R), 2:05.950

10. Alex LOWES, UK (Suzuki GSX-R1000), 2:06.089

11. Leon HASLAM, UK (Honda CBR1000RR), 2:06.607

12. Leon CAMIER, UK (BMW S1000RR), EVO, 2:06.898

13. David SALOM, Spain (Kawasaki ZX-10R), EVO, 2:06.967

14. Claudio CORTI, Italy (MV Agusta F4 RR), 2:06.978

15. Christian IDDON, UK (Bimota BB3), EVO, 2:06.981

16. Niccolo CANEPA, Italy (Ducati 1199 Panigale R), EVO, 2:07.166

17. Sheridan MORAIS, South Africa (Kawasaki ZX-10R), EVO, 2:07.262

18. Ayrton BADOVINI, Italy (Bimota BB3), EVO, 2:07.582

19. Jeremy GUARNONI, France (Kawasaki ZX-10R), EVO, 2:08.172

20. Imre TOTH, Hungary (BMW S1000RR), 2:08.347

21. Alessandro ANDREOZZI, Italy (Kawasaki ZX-10R), EVO, 2:08.389

22. Fabien FORET, France (Kawasaki ZX-10R), EVO, 2:08.585

23. Romain LANUSSE, France (Kawasaki ZX-10R), EVO, 2:08.950

24. Bryan STARING, Australia (Kawasaki ZX-10R), EVO, 2:09.837

25. Geoff MAY, USA (EBR 1190RX), 2:10.761

26. Peter SEBESTYEN, Hungary (BMW S1000RR), EVO, 2:10.825

27. Aaron YATES, USA (EBR 1190RX), 2:13.780, crash

More, from a press release issued by Aprilia:



Sepang (Malaysia), 6 June 2014 - It was an excellent Friday for the Aprilia Racing Team at Sepang, a new circuit on the 2014 Superbike calendar. Aprilia dominated the first day with three RSV4s in the top three spots of the combined standings, promising to be a sure protagonist throughout the Malaysian weekend. In fact, behind the two official RSV4s ridden by Guintoli and Melandri, Toni Elias was third on his "satellite" Aprilia.

The weather was as predicted with tropical temperatures and humidity, but all entirely normal for these latitudes.

In afternoon practice Sylvain Guintoli confirmed the great pace he had demonstrated in the first session, extended by 75 minutes in order to give the riders a chance to familiarise themselves with the new track. Finishing the morning session in third place, the Frenchman put the top time on the boards in the afternoon, shaving off almost two tenths of a second. Sylvain was also able to gather comforting data in terms of race pace, despite the fact that a lot of work still needs to be done to find the best setup.

Sylvain Guintoli: "The results are clear today, the RSV4 works really well here. In the last few rounds we haven't able to use the bike's full potential, but here we have the conditions to be able to do it and I obviously like that a lot. Not only is our flying lap fast, but our pace is too and it has been since the first session. I am also feeling good on runs over several laps. In short this has been a decidedly positive day from all points of view".

Second in the combined times after making the best time during morning practice, Marco Melandri is also pleased with the two sessions. Fast and focused, Marco is concentrating on working with used tyres, trying to take the best possible advantage of his RSV4s full potential. In the two sessions before Superpole tomorrow there will be time to try for pure speed, taking advantage of the improved grip conditions as well.

Marco Melandri: "I felt very comfortable straight away on this track. It is a particular track. There isn't much grip, but we have been working constantly, changing details throughout the last few races, and I'm starting to have a better feeling now. In the afternoon we preferred not to use new tyres because it was very slippery and I'm sure that tomorrow the times will drop quite a bit. We are off to a really positive start for this Malaysian round".

More, from a press release issued by Pata Honda Superbike Team:

Pata Honda begins work at hot Sepang

The Pata Honda team had its first taste of the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia today as riders Jonathan Rea and Leon Haslam took their Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SPs to the famous track for the first time.

Rea ended the day in eighth place and Haslam was eleventh as French rider Sylvain Guintoli set the provisional pole time at the 5.548km circuit that lies 60km to the south of the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur.

Both riders suffered from low grip levels today, although they were able to improve on their morning times in the second free practice session which took place in the anticipated hot and humid conditions this afternoon, with air temperatures in the low thirties and the track at 41°C.

Jonathan Rea - P8, 2m05.752s

It’s disappointing to be this far off on day one. We were able to improve our time with a new rear tyre but generally our base speed needs to improve. The good thing is that it felt quite comfortable when I did my fastest lap. The changes we are making on the chassis are going the right way but we have some engine cutting along the straights when I’m on full throttle. We need to look at that problem because at a track like Sepang it's quite a disadvantage. I think I’m losing about half a second in the last sector, which includes the back straight. Hopefully tomorrow we can do a better job.

Leon Haslam - P11, 2m06.607s

Not a great day, to be honest. We tried a few radical changes on the chassis and we’re still finding our way with that. I’ve had a problem with power delivery today and ran out of time this afternoon. I had a grip problem as well and the one new tyre I tried was spinning up everywhere.

Pieter Breddels - technical co-ordinator

Jonathan had various problems in opening free practice this morning which we were able to solve partly for this afternoon. There are still some things to resolve and have a look at but this afternoon he was able to improve his time, despite the hot conditions and low grip levels. For Leon we decided to change the set-up of the bike, both with electronics and with chassis settings. It’s bringing some positives but his overall position has not improved. We’ll keep trying to improve and see what we can get tomorrow.

More, from a press release issued by Ducati Corse:

The Ducati Superbike Team makes a good start to the race weekend at Sepang

Sepang (Malaysia), Friday 6 June 2014 The Ducati Superbike Team got down to work today at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia, with factory riders Davide Giugliano and Chaz Davies completing the first two timed practice sessions of the weekend in very hot conditions but with positive results, to conclude in fourth and seventh position respectively.

This morning’s first timed practice was an extended session of 75 minutes in order to give riders the chance to better familiarise themselves with the track. Conditions were typically hot and humid from early on in the day, with a track temperature of 42°C and an air temperature of 32°C. For Giugliano, out on the Sepang track for the very first time, the day got off to a positive start; despite the difficult conditions, he was able to record the fifth fastest time of the session, with a best of 2’05.926. Davies, who already has good track knowledge, having raced here on several occasions when he participated in the 250 and 125 World Championships, was quickly up to speed and closed with an almost identical time to his teammate, 2’05.964, to place sixth.

In the afternoon’s session, and with an elevated track temperature of 55°C, both Ducati Superbike riders continued to work to adapt their 1199 Panigale bikes to the hot track. Both were able to improve on the morning’s lap times, despite a lack of grip caused by the high temperatures. Davide lowered his time by seventh tenths to record a best of 2’05.278, to position fourth at the end of the day, followed by Chaz, seventh, who also improved by half a second to register a fastest time of 2’05.448.

Quotes after the day’s sessions:

Davide Giugliano (Ducati Superbike Team #34) – 4th (2’05.278)

“It’s a great track, very technical and then there are some very particular sections that you don’t see at other tracks. It’s a pity about the bumps that the F1 cars have left on the surface though! Today has gone pretty well, though we’re having some problems with consistency, in that we’re fast through the first laps but then there’s a dramatic drop in grip, something we see every time that the asphalt is very hot. In the afternoon we improved a little and will continue to work on this tomorrow. Physically it’s quite difficult, it’s the first time I’m riding in these conditions and it’s hard to breathe with the helmet, suit etc. I guess it just takes time to get used to, but anyway I think we can be pleased with our work today – I hadn’t been on this track before, neither had the team, so we should be satisfied with the progress made.”

Chaz Davies (Ducati Superbike Team #7) – 7th (2’05.448)

“I’m reasonably happy with the bike. The biggest problem is that as soon as there is a drop in grip, I lose stability, the bike becomes nervous, so that’s something to work on tomorrow as I feel I am having to tiptoe around the track after only a few laps. We definitely need to improve things as far as grip is concerned after about the five-lap mark. The grip level didn’t seem to change a lot this afternoon, despite the fact that temperatures were higher, it all seemed fairly similar. Fortunately I’m feeling ok physically speaking, I’ve been able to deal with that side of things fairly well. So all in all today went fairly well but there’s more to do tomorrow of course.”

More, from a press release issued by Voltcom Crescent Suzuki:

Laverty holds sixth in Sepang

Eugene Laverty started Voltcom Crescent Suzuki’s tropical eni FIM Superbike World Championship debut at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia today with a solid sixth position in the first day’s practice sessions.

With an extended 75 minutes on track for the opening session allowing the riders time to learn the new circuit, Laverty and teammate Alex Lowes did just that aboard their respective Yoshimura-powered GSX-R’s. Using the initial half-an-hour to get up to speed, the real business of set-up specifics was left for the remaining 45 minute stint. A small crash at turn four in the last 12 minutes of the session however, left the Irishman little chance to improve and while Lowes finished just inside the top 10, Laverty missed the marker by 100th of a second to hold 11th.

As Friday afternoon saw air temperatures soar to 31°C - with 70% humidity making it feel much higher - little changed in the times during the opening twenty minutes of free practice two. Lowes was one of the first to improve his lap at the session’s midpoint to take 7th with a 2'06.089 before returning to the pits for a setup change. The closing minutes saw the times start to tumble with all but two of the front runners improving. Laverty put his Suzuki GSX-R1000 in fifth position, with a time of 2'05.356 and just five minutes to go, but was relegated to sixth in the dying minutes by Ducati’s Davide Giugliano. Lowes maintained his 10th place spot and heads into tomorrow’s final timed free practice session with a solid 31 lap knowledge of the Asian circuit.

Aprilia’s Sylvain Guintoli took the fastest time of the day around the 42°C track, just inside the 2’05 barrier.

With marginally cooler conditions forecast for tomorrow’s third free practice session, scheduled at 09:45hrs local time (02:45BST), Voltcom Crescent Suzuki will look to capitalise on the information gained today in a bid to secure its places in the final of the afternoon’s two Superpole sessions. Qualifying begins at 15:00hrs local time (08:00BST) with the top twelve in action at 15:25hrs (08:25BST).

Eugene Laverty:

“This morning we were a long way off but this afternoon we jumped up to within a quarter of a second of the top guys so our bike is working the best it has done in these hot and slippery conditions. We definitely made a step chassis wise. For qualifying I need to be in the top six, like I am now, I need to be on those first two rows! We need to improve the starts because that’s been a real thorn in my side this year, I sometimes go backwards on the first lap and have to work hard to get back, which is too late, so that’s key for tomorrow.”

Alex Lowes:

“The track is good, it’s nice to ride at Sepang as it’s a fantastic circuit, but I didn’t feel that good on the bike today, so we need to improve a lot tomorrow ahead of the afternoon’s qualifying. I will put my head together with my Crew Chief Lez this evening to see how we can get closer to the front runners and, after good night’s sleep to process what I’ve learnt today, I’ll be raring to go for the rest of the weekend.”

Paul Denning – Team Manager:

“Both team and riders have worked hard in the heat today and in the end settled into a pretty good position as we approach qualifying tomorrow. Eugene had a very small crash this morning, losing the front into turn four but aside from that his rhythm and the setting of the GSX-R has improved step-by-step and it will have done Eugene’s confidence some good to end the day, on such a long lap, only a couple of tenths off first position. His recent testing on the Suzuki MotoGP bike doesn’t appear to have affected his feel for the GSX-R at all and I think we can continue to take decent steps forward tomorrow.

“Alex is a little bit disappointed with his lap time and position but I don’t think he should be. Unlike many of the guys in front of him he’s never seen the Sepang circuit before and it does make a decent difference to knowing the feeling and what should be expected. There are some improvements to make, especially gear ratio choice and the turning of the bike, but I think the biggest help to the performance tomorrow will be coming back to the circuit and understanding how to get round the track quickly.”

More, from a press release issued by Team HERO EBR:

Team Hero EBR Begin Asian Adventure At Sepang

Team Hero EBR were in action on the opening day at the Sepang International Circuit on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur as the 2014 World Superbike Championship returned to Asia for the first in twenty years.

Unlike in many of the previous rounds, the fast-flowing nature of the Malaysian circuit was new for the majority of the field, and the longer 75 minute opening Free Practice session helped both riders, Geoff May and Aaron Yates to get up to speed more quickly.

Despite coping with the hottest conditions of the season so far, Geoff and Aaron (who suffered a small crash in FP2) are relishing at riding in the intense humidity that comes with racing in Malaysia.

Geoff May – “It was a positive first session. The heat wasn’t so bad when riding but when you return the garage in the session to make changes wow it hits you. This afternoon we weren’t able to improve our times which was due to some degree with the increase in track temperature but the bike is working really well here so hopefully we can continue to push and make it into Superpole tomorrow, which is the target.”

Aaron Yates – “It’s a shame we had the small crash because the bike was definitely better this afternoon. I’m ok and the bike wasn’t too badly damaged so we will be ready to push again in the morning, it just took too long to get the bike back to the garage this afternoon.”

With the opening day of on track activity completed, the team will review the data with the aim of improving tomorrow morning when the on track action resumes for the final Free Practice session that will determine the top twenty riders in Tissot-Superpole and the remaining grid positions from 21st onwards.

Ahead of today’s on track sessions, Geoff attended the official media event yesterday which saw him take one of the fastest elevators in the world, scaling the heights of the Petronas Twin Towers in central Kuala Lumpur before sampling a lunch of local Malayan cuisine after the official SBK Q&A session.

More, from a press release issued by Alstare Bimota:


Team Bimota Alstare riders Ayrton Badovini and Christian Iddon made a positive start on the opening day of the sixth round of this year’s World Superbike Championship at Sepang circuit. This was the first visit to the track for both Ayrton and Christian and much of today’s sessions were taken up learning this technically difficult track. The hot and humid temperatures didn’t help, but both riders worked hard during the two sessions and were able to give the team a lot of feedback at the end of the day.

Christian Iddon – 15th, 2:06.981

“This was a new track for all of us to learn and it is a bit of a strange one because some parts are quite simple and some parts are not simple at all and so it takes time to understand it properly. For the afternoon session we made the bike a bit stiffer and lengthened the gear ratios to make it easier to ride and I was able to take well over a second off my morning lap time.I am not sure about the grip at the moment, but maybe I don’t have a great feeling about it because of the high temperatures.

I was pretty happy this afternoon because I was able to follow some of the factory riders and they weren’t able to pull away much - and that felt good.I have trained really hard for this race and was completely prepared for the heat and the humidity. At the end of the day, I felt absolutely OK and that made me happy about the hard work I’d put in.”

Ayrton Badovini – 18th 2:07.582

“I am not happy because this afternoon I think we went in the wrong direction and weren’t able to improve as much as we should have. We made some changes to the bike from the morning session, but it was more difficult to ride and I couldn’t push hard. During this afternoon’s session we did try and change the bike back to our morning set-up, but the session wasn’t really long enough to do as much as we wanted.

This track is difficult to learn because there are some parts where you cannot see the exit to the turns, so track knowledge is crucial. As I put in more laps, I am sure I will go quicker and quicker, but first we need the bike to work for this track.”

Francis Batta (Team Manager)

“Some of the riders have been to this circuit before, but it is a new one for Christian and Ayrton and the team, so I am pretty satisfied with what we achieved today. It was very hot and humid, but both riders have been training hard and I think it has paid off. This circuit is not an easy one to learn, but I am sure that both riders will make significant improvements tomorrow and will be much closer to the leaders.”

More, from a press release issued by Dorna WSBK Press Office:

Guintoli spearheads Aprilia charge on Day 1

Sepang (Malaysia), Friday 6 June 2014 - After a top 3 lockout by Aprilia machines in FP1, the combined times after both of today’s Free Practice saw the same 3 riders end the day at the top, albeit with Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia Racing Team) edging his team mate and first session pace-setter Marco Melandri and a rejuvenated Toni Elias (Red Devils Roma Aprilia), who remained 2nd and 3rd respectively.

Davide Giugliano (Ducati Superbike Team) moved himself to 4th overall with a late surge displacing reigning champion Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) who ended the day 5th and the improving Eugene Laverty (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki) who was 6th.

Chaz Davies (Ducati Superbike Team), Jonathan Rea (Pata Honda World Superbike Team), Loris Baz (Kawasaki Racing Team) and Alex Lowes (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki) rounded out the top ten.

Leon Camier (BMW Motorrad Italia) improved from 15th this morning to head the riders in the EVO category in 12th overall, 0.069s ahead of David Salom (Kawasaki Racing Team) who in turn is a fraction of a second ahead of Claudio Corti (MV Agusta RC - Yakhnich Motorsport) and Team Bimota Alstare’s Christian Iddon who completed the top 15.

Fabien Foret (Mahi Racing Team India Kawasaki) currently holds 20th position overall on combined times with one final session to decide the participants in Tissot-Superpole tomorrow morning. Fellow Frenchman Jeremy Guarnoni (MRS Kawasaki) was 21st today and will be looking to find the 0.007s to elevate himself into Superpole 1.

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