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Jun 7, 2014

Guintoli Wins World Superbike Superpole At Sepang

Sylvain Guintoli (50).

eni FIM Superbike World Championship

Sepang Circuit, Malaysia

June 7, 2014

Superpole Knockout Session One Results (all on Pirelli tires, top two advance to Qualifying Session Two):

1. Alex LOWES, UK (Suzuki GSX-R1000), 2:05.038

2. David SALOM, Spain (Kawasaki ZX-10R), EVO, 2:05.245

3. Niccolo CANEPA, Italy (Ducati 1199 Panigale R), EVO, 2:05.771

4. Claudio CORTI, Italy (MV Agusta F4 RR), 2:05.859

5. Christian IDDON, UK (Bimota BB3), EVO, 2:06.012

6. Leon CAMIER, UK (BMW S1000RR), EVO, 2:06.184

7. Sheridan MORAIS, South Africa (Kawasaki ZX-10R), EVO, 2:06.631

8. Ayrton BADOVINI, Italy (Bimota BB3), EVO, 2:06.808, crash

9. Fabien FORET, France (Kawasaki ZX-10R), EVO, 2:07.081

10. Jeremy GUARNONI, France (Kawasaki ZX-10R), EVO, 2:07.220

Superpole Knockout Session Two Results (all on Pirelli tires):

1. Sylvain GUINTOLI, France (Aprilia RSV4 Factory), 2:03.002

2. Tom SYKES, UK (Kawasaki ZX-10R), 2:03.108

3. Davide GIUGLIANO, Italy (Ducati 1199 Panigale R), 2:03.137

4. Toni ELIAS, Spain (Aprilia RSV4 Factory), 2:03.160

5. Marco MELANDRI, Italy (Aprilia RSV4 Factory), 2:03.971

6. Loris BAZ, France (Kawasaki ZX-10R), 2:04.027, crash

7. Eugene LAVERTY, Ireland (Suzuki GSX-R1000), 2:04.263

8. Chaz DAVIES, UK (Ducati 1199 Panigale R), 2:04.343

9. Alex LOWES, UK (Suzuki GSX-R1000), 2:04.433

10. Jonathan REA, UK (Honda CBR1000RR), 2:04.514

11. Leon HASLAM, UK (Honda CBR1000RR), 2:05.202

12. David SALOM, Spain (Kawasaki ZX-10R), EVO, 2:06.388

Combined Qualifying Results:

1. Sylvain GUINTOLI, France (Aprilia RSV4 Factory), 2:03.002

2. Tom SYKES, UK (Kawasaki ZX-10R), 2:03.108

3. Davide GIUGLIANO, Italy (Ducati 1199 Panigale R), 2:03.137

4. Toni ELIAS, Spain (Aprilia RSV4 Factory), 2:03.160

5. Marco MELANDRI, Italy (Aprilia RSV4 Factory), 2:03.971

6. Loris BAZ, France (Kawasaki ZX-10R), 2:04.027, crash

7. Eugene LAVERTY, Ireland (Suzuki GSX-R1000), 2:04.263

8. Chaz DAVIES, UK (Ducati 1199 Panigale R), 2:04.343

9. Alex LOWES, UK (Suzuki GSX-R1000), 2:04.433

10. Jonathan REA, UK (Honda CBR1000RR), 2:04.514

11. Leon HASLAM, UK (Honda CBR1000RR), 2:05.202

12. David SALOM, Spain (Kawasaki ZX-10R), EVO, 2:06.388

13. Niccolo CANEPA, Italy (Ducati 1199 Panigale R), EVO, 2:05.771

14. Claudio CORTI, Italy (MV Agusta F4 RR), 2:05.859

15. Christian IDDON, UK (Bimota BB3), EVO, 2:06.012

16. Leon CAMIER, UK (BMW S1000RR), EVO, 2:06.184

17. Sheridan MORAIS, South Africa (Kawasaki ZX-10R), EVO, 2:06.631

18. Ayrton BADOVINI, Italy (Bimota BB3), EVO, 2:06.808, crash

19. Fabien FORET, France (Kawasaki ZX-10R), EVO, 2:07.0812

20. Jeremy GUARNONI, France (Kawasaki ZX-10R), EVO, 2:07.220

21. Alesandro ANDREOZZI, Italy (Kawasaki ZX-10R), EVO, 2:07.544

22. Romain LANUSSE, France (Kawasaki ZX-10R), EVO, 2:07.628

23. Bryan STARING, Australia (Kawasaki ZX-10R), EVO, 2:07.926

24. Imre TOTH, Hungary (BMW S1000RR), 2:08.211

25. Peter SEBESTYEN, Hungary (BMW S1000RR), EVO, 2:10.317

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

27. Aaron YATES, USA (EBR 1190RX), 2:11.191

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

Guintoli takes Tissot-Superpole in Sepang

Sepang (Malaysia), Saturday 7 June 2014 - With high track and air temperatures the first ever Tissot-Superpole at the Sepang International Circuit has been won by Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia Racing Team), who will start from pole position for the fourth time in his WSBK career.

At the end of a hot and humid 15 minutes on track Guintoli secured his second Superpole of the year, winning the grid deciding battle by a margin of 0.106s courtesy of a 2’03.002s lap time set in the closing stages.

Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) and Davide Giugliano (Ducati Superbike Team) complete the front row with Toni Elias (Red Devils Roma Aprilia), Marco Melandri (Aprilia Racing Team) and an unlucky Loris Baz (Kawasaki Racing Team), who crashed whilst on a potential Pole Position lap, making up row two in both of tomorrow’s 16 lap encounters.

In the EVO category, the accolade of being the first classified competitor went to David Salom (Kawasaki Racing Team) who qualified 12th overall.

Alex Lowes (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki), ninth, and Salom were the first 2 classified riders in Superpole 1, progressing to the final shootout with the already seeded top ten from the combined free practice sessions. Ayrton Badovini (Team Bimota Alstare) had been on course for one of the coveted top two places before the Italian fell, thankfully without injury.

1. Guintoli (Aprilia) 2'03.002 average 162.378 kph; 2. Sykes (Kawasaki) 2'03.108; 3. Giugliano (Ducati) 2'03.137; 4. Elias (Aprilia) 2'03.160; 5. Melandri (Aprilia) 2'03.971; 6. Baz (Kawasaki) 2'04.027; 7. Laverty (Suzuki) 2'04.263; 8. Davies (Ducati) 2'04.343; 9. Lowes (Suzuki) 2'04.433; 10. Rea (Honda) 2'04.514; 11. Haslam (Honda) 2'05.202; 12. Salom (Kawasaki) 2'06.388; 13. Canepa (Ducati); 14. Corti (MV Agusta); 15. Iddon (Bimota); 16. Camier (BMW); 17. Morais (Kawasaki); 18. Badovini (Bimota); 19. Foret (Kawasaki); 20. Guarnoni (Kawasaki).

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

Improvements for Voltcom Crescent Suzuki in Sepang

Voltcom Crescent Suzuki racer Eugene Laverty secured seventh on the grid for tomorrow’s inaugural eni FIM Superbike World Championship races at the Sepang International Circuit during a blistering Superpole in Malaysia this afternoon.

Narrowly missing out on a second row start, Laverty set a time of 2’04.263 to take seventh position at the head of the third row for tomorrow’s first Superbike race at the Malaysian circuit. Having initially struggled with set-up, the Irishman settled into a comfortable rhythm with his Yoshimura-powered GSX-R, despite the tropical heat recording highs of 35°C and above, and feels confident that it’s a consistency he can carry through tomorrow’s two races.

Temperatures had already hit yesterday’s peak by the start of the morning free practice, which saw Alex Lowes miss out on a top ten spot, and therefore automatic promotion into the second of this afternoon’s Superpole sessions. Enduring the heat for both 15 minute stints, the British rider easily secured his place in the top twelve, with a time of 2’05.038 on his second flying lap of the opening session on-board his Suzuki GSX-R1000. While track temperatures soared to 60°C for the final shoot-out the championship rookie continued to improve, a 2’04.433 his fastest time of the day, to round out the third row in ninth place.

Aprilia’s Sylvain Guintoli continued his weekend form to claim the pole position with a 2’03.002; Kawasaki’s David Salom taking the fastest EVO time.

Sunday’s race action gets underway at 13:30hrs and 16:30hrs local time (06:30 and 09:30 BST) and Voltcom Crescent Suzuki will look to advance early from its third row positions to challenge at the front during its Asian Superbike debut.

Eugene Laverty:

“We almost got the second row that I was after, but I made a mistake at the end of my best lap that otherwise would have got us there. P7 was a good day’s work considering we lost most of free practice four with a technical problem. The bike is working well in the hot conditions and it looks like tomorrow afternoon will be just that, so I need to get a good start and see how race one goes!”

Alex Lowes:

“We are slowly getting there, it’s been quite difficult this weekend but we improved a little bit for qualifying and being in Superpole one actually gave me a bit more time to try a few things. I’m happy enough but it’s going to be some hard racing tomorrow. Hopefully we can make a few more changes to the front of the bike in warm up and enjoy two good races.”

Paul Denning – Team Manager:

“We have been improving the bike and the potential over the course of the weekend and we got a little bit closer to the fastest guys in qualifying today. Eugene was definitely good for the second row, but a mistake in the final corner cost us half a second, which has just knocked us back a little bit. Alex has improved considerably, and to come from Superpole one and end up on the third row is not a bad result. The top three riders seem to have a different level of pace here, especially on the new tyres, but after only four or five laps the grip is going to be gone for everybody and the race result will be defined by maintaining a decent lap time for 16 laps - we will do our best to get the GSX-R set up to accomplish the best result we possibly can tomorrow.”

More, from a press release issued by Ducati Corse:

Giugliano and the Ducati Superbike Team score a front row start for tomorrow’s races at Sepang

Sepang (Malaysia), Saturday 7 June 2014 – Despite today’s extreme track and weather conditions, Davide Giugliano and the Ducati Superbike Team put in an impressive performance in Superpole, earning a front row start, third, for tomorrow’s races. Eighth place for Chaz Davies.

In the third and final practice session, which took place on a slightly cooler track with respect to yesterday (40°C), all of the Superbike riders were able to improve on their best times set in the previous sessions. Both Chaz and Davide made a step forward in the early stages of the 45-minute session, with the Italian rider making another jump towards the end, recording a fastest time of 2’04.332 to propel himself into overall second position. Chaz’ best lap, a 2’04.967, meant that he secured final seventh position and safe passage to Superpole 2, together with his teammate.

Superpole 2 – Riders were in for an action-packed and extremely hot Superpole 2, with an air temperature of 35°C and a track temperature in the region of 60°C. Davies and Giugliano made only one lap each on the race tyre before heading straight back out on the qualifier, with 5 minutes still on the clock. Davide put in an extremely fast time – 2’03.137 – which assured him of a place on the front row of tomorrow’s race grid, in third position. Chaz, suffering from some understeer with the qualifying tyre, closed eighth with a best time of 2’04.343. He will therefore line up on row three for tomorrow’s 16-lap races.

Quotes after the day’s sessions:

Davide Giugliano (Ducati Superbike Team #34) – 3th (2’03.137)

“To be honest it wasn’t exactly the Superpole I was expecting – I knew that other riders could be really fast and I wasn’t sure that I’d be able to make that kind of lap. But of course I’m really pleased to have scored another important front row start. We still have work to do because we need to improve in terms of race consistency but to start from the front row is of course nice, as well as an advantage. It’s not an easy track for Ducati, there are two long straights and it’s very fast, so that’s not ideal for our bike but I was nevertheless able to take a good result today, so I’m pleased.”

Chaz Davies (Ducati Superbike Team #7) – 8th (2’04.343)

“Superpole didn’t go well for me. With the qualifying tyre I struggled to turn the bike, it seemed like there was less grip rather than more, so the opposite of what I expected really. So I’m a bit disappointed with the qualifying result. We’ve probably made a small step forward today in terms of tyre consistency but it will be difficult tomorrow I think. I can’t make predictions, also because from what I’ve seen, no-one has made long-runs with consistently fast times. We’ve worked hard but we’ll have to wait and see what we are able to do tomorrow.”

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

Rea and Haslam toil under Sepang sun

Jonathan Rea and Leon Haslam endured a tough Superpole today in preparation for tomorrow’s two sixth-round World Superbike races at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia.

In temperatures nudging 40°C and with the track temperature above 60°C, the Pata Honda duo were able to put their Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP machines no higher than the fourth row of the grid for Sunday's two 16-lap races at the 5.548km Sepang circuit 60km south of Kuala Lumpur.

French rider Sylvain Guintoli took pole position but the Pata Honda technical team will continue this evening its analysis of all the data produced by Rea and Haslam on the CBR’s Sepang debut in order produce two solid race performances tomorrow.

Jonathan Rea - P10, 2m04.514s

It’s been a difficult day and a difficult weekend so far because we’re trying to extract the best performance from the package here but we’re struggling. It’s mainly to do with engine brake and power delivery, which seems to be highlighted by the fact that it’s quite a low-grip surface here at Sepang and we’re on the side of the tyre for quite long periods in the long fast corners. I’m not used to starting this far back, to be honest, and although I made a small mistake on my qualifying tyre, I didn’t think it would be that critical. Everybody’s riding at a good level and we’re paying for that, so I just need to maximise the job tomorrow and come away with as many points as possible. But it’s sure not going to be easy!

Leon Haslam - P11, 2m05.202s

I’m not too unhappy actually, although I wasn’t happy with the big crash in FP4. We lost an important session which was the only one that was going to simulate temperatures that we can expect in the first race tomorrow and the only one when you do distance on old tyres. Again, like in Imola, I missed the whole session, which is more frustrating than anything. On the positive side, I did my fastest lap of the weekend on a race tyre in Superpole with a re-built bike, so I was quite happy with that. I went slower on the Q as usual because it throws up a lot of other issues. We’ve got some things to try in warm-up tomorrow but, for all the issues we’ve had this weekend, we’ve made some good progress today and we’re getting closer to where we should be.

Pieter Breddels - technical co-ordinator

It wasn’t what we expected or wanted here but we learned yesterday that it wasn’t going to be easy. The grip levels and track layout were not helping us but 10th place for Jonathan is certainly not what we wanted. He could have been a little nearer to the front but made a small mistake in the last corner on the qualifying tyre, which also had something to do with how engine brake works with the qualifier. We’ve got some thinking to do and it looks like it’ll be a long day but hopefully we can find something for warm-up and fight for something in tomorrow’s races. Leon’s different approach to chassis and electronics set-up has shown some positives, despite his position on the grid. He was actually quite fast on the race tyre and I’m not so unhappy with the progress that we’r e seeing. I think he can have a couple of good races so let’s see what happens tomorrow.

More, from a press release issued by Kawasaki:

Front Row Start For Sykes At Sepang

Reigning FIM Superbike World Champion Tom Sykes got to within 0.106 seconds of pole position at Sepang, finishing second in Superpole 2 and earning himself a start from the front row of the grid for Sunday’s races. Loris Baz was unhurt in a late session fall in Superpole 2 but is still starting off the second row, in sixth place. KRT SBK Evo rider David Salom was fastest Evo qualifier of all.

Sykes used his Ninja ZX-10R to good effect in Superpole 2 on a qualifying tyre but was not quite able to take his 21st pole position. With no points available for qualifying the series leader understands that the real job starts tomorrow, as he goes for more wins to add to his 2014 season tally of four so far.

With no SBK race held at Sepang before, Sykes had to work hard in qualifying to unlock the secrets of the Sepang circuit on his latest version Ninja ZX-10R, having tested at the Malaysian track some years ago. Now his final raceday set-up depends on the weather and track conditions at a circuit which always delivers heat and humidity at high levels.

Baz was fully 0.6 seconds under the best Superpole 2 lap time until he fell at the final corner of his last lap. In starting off the second row he still has a good opportunity to make the most of what he feels is a strong race pace. His performances so far, at a circuit he had never ridden at before until Friday, have been very impressive as he had learned the layout step-by-step.

On the Evo spec KRT Ninja ZX-10R David Salom had his first ever Evo class pole position, and he was the only Evo rider to progress from Superpole 1 to Superpole 2. He starts from 12th on the grid, off the fourth row, but in the best possible place to try and dictate pace in the Evo class race-within-a-race.

The two SBK races will held over 16 laps on Sunday 8th June, with the first off at 13.30 local time in Malaysia and the second race taking place at 16.30.

Tom Sykes: “We have been quite consistent all weekend and on race tyres we are there or thereabouts. I feel we have learned something in the Superpole laps so we will hopefully put that to good use tomorrow. We were not too far away from our competitors and the times have been close, but we will try to work even more to improve the race set-up. I have seen how fast some other riders are on new tyres but everyone will take a drop on raceday as the race unfolds. Exactly how much of a drop, no one will see that true potential until tomorrow. I am hoping that we can be in quite a good position tomorrow for race distance and we just need to improve the general feel to utilise the bike a bit better in some corners. I hope we can make any small changes count.”

Loris Baz: “All of my final lap I felt like I could brake later and later because the rear grip from the qualifying tyre gave me a lot of extra grip on corner entry. On the last corner I braked just a little bit too late because I had been faster on the straight and I fell. It was a little mistake but I am happy because we improved in all the sessions and we could have been on pole because of the progress we had made. I think we can make something good tomorrow, our race pace is good but we will see how the tyres are after ten laps. I am confident but we have to make a good start to get away with the front guys.”

David Salom: “We took the Evo class Superpole win for the first time so that cannot be bad. This morning I put a different front tyre in but it was not possible to use it in the hot conditions so I went back to my original choice. I made a good lap in Superpole 1 on my own, not with any other riders. When I saw the time I was not really sure that I would be able to make it in to Superpole 2 but I did. I could not improve in Superpole 2 as I could not go any faster than in Superpole 1. I knew it was not possible to go faster than the full Superbikes anyway, so I am happy to start from where I am on the grid.”

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

Team Hero EBR Ready To Race In Malaysia After Qualifying

After a positive day yesterday, Team Hero EBR have qualified for tomorrow’s two 16 lap encounters at the Sepang International Circuit near Kuala Lumpur.

Improving in both sessions yesterday, Geoff suffered a small technical problem this morning which prevented any further improvement today, leaving him 26th on the grid.

Aaron recovered from a small crash in FP2 to complete FP3 which was held in extremely humid conditions at the fast flowing Malaysian track. He will start both races from 27th on the grid.

Looking ahead to the races tomorrow, both riders are excited to be making their Malaysian race debut with their EBR1190RX machines, which has received a lot of interest from local fans throughout the weekend so far.

Geoff May: “Things were going good until the problem but we have found a new setting with the rear shock with positive results so we can be positive moving forward.”

Aaron Yates: “We are doing the best we can. We need to keep working at improving the grip level and to find a consistent pace but we have a comfortable setting despite me missing all of FP2 after tucking the front. It’s frustrating to be down a little on speed but nevertheless I am enjoying riding here. It has always been one of my favourites since I first rode here in 2001 and I’ll be giving it my all in the races tomorrow.”

Race 1 is scheduled to take place at 1330 local time tomorrow, with the second race due to start at 1630.

More, from a press release issued by Aprilia:




Sepang (Malaysia), 7 June 2014 – The first Sepang Superpole had an Aprilia flavour once the Italian bikes had demonstrated their potential in all the timed sessions. With a perfect lap Sylvain Guintoli put the best time on the boards and tomorrow, for the fourth time in his career, he will be starting in front of all the rest. Marco Melandri, feeling at ease on race tyres, was unable to be incisive with the soft tyre but in any case took a spot on the second row with the fifth best time.

The Aprilia branded day was completed by the second row spot taken by Toni Elias on his “satellite” RSV4.

Guintoli took to the track at the beginning of the session on a race tyre, stopping the clock at an impressive time of 2’03.581 and immediately taking a solid lead. After returning to the pits to put on a qualifier, Sylvain further improved his performance with 2’03.002 on the boards. The speed demonstrated in Superpole is in line with his performance in the practice sessions: three out of four times the French rider was the fastest on the track.

Sylvain Guintoli: “This has been an almost perfect weekend so far even if the results tomorrow are the ones that really count. I have trained well, preparing for the high heat, and I actually feel better on a race tyre than on a qualifier. I’m very happy with how well the RSV4 is performing here – we are really able to take full advantage of it. I’m having fun riding and the two races tomorrow will definitely be hard but I can’t wait to get on the track”.

Fast in all the sessions, Marco Melandri was also aiming for a spot on the front row, but a lack of feeling with the qualifier tyre and a few changes that didn’t have the desired effects kept him from being incisive in Superpole. Finishing with the fifth best time is definitely a positive result, although it is disappointing after everything demonstrated during the practice sessions. His pace makes him hopeful for the races tomorrow: “This was a difficult qualifier. We tried to keep improving stability and grip at the rear, but in the end I was struggling a lot with the front. On a qualifying tyre I wasn’t very efficient, but finishing in fifth makes me hopeful for tomorrow. We’ll need to improve a bit more and the races will be complicated both in terms of tyres and riders”.

More, from a press release issued by Alstare Bimota:


Despite a crash by Ayrton Badovini in Superpole 1, Team Bimota Alstare are happy and looking forward to tomorrow’s pair of 16-lap races at the Sepang circuit. Both Ayrton and team mate Christian Iddon had comfortably qualified for this afternoon’s Superpole and were optimistic about their chances of advancing into Superpole 2. Both started Superpole 1 well and were in the top three until a crash, six minutes into the session, ruined Badovini’s prospects. Christian looked to be fairing better, but lost out on Superpole 2 by just two tenths of a second in the last frantic moments. He ended 5th in Superpole and will start from the fifth row of the grid, with Ayrton just behind him on row six.

Christian Iddon – 3rd EVO Class, 2:06.012

“We changed the set-up of the bike this morning and there was an immediate improvement and it was easier to ride and turn. For Free Practice 4, we worked on the traction control system. It is good that we’ve got it, but bad because we’ve only got it halfway through the season and now we have to try and understand it before we can progress. So, basically, we just need more time. But the potential is there for us to be able to go faster. We’re also working on improving the engine braking. We’re all happy that we are doing so well already, but we’re all itching for the next step … or two!

I am still learning about Qualifying tyres and I haven’t fully understood them and how much I can push them. I was happy to get through Superpole because before it, I felt pretty rough. On the first lap of Superpole, I threw up in my helmet, which wasn’t a particular good feeling. I thought I’d got rid of it, but I did notice what looked like a bit of cabbage in the next lap or so! Hopefully there’ll be no such problems tomorrow.”

Ayrton Badovini – 6th EVO Class, 2:06.808

“First of all, I’d like to say sorry to my team for the crash in Superpole 1 – and the extra work they will have to do now. I lost the front on a right-hander and down the bike went. I think that maybe it was a little mistake by me. We had changed the bike since the poor session yesterday and the bike felt a lot better. That meant that I could push harder … and that’s what I did. Unfortunately, I think I may have pushed a bit too hard and that’s why I crashed.

But before that, I was pretty happy with bike because I had a good feeling for it, which means that I am ready to race. At the moment, I do not think that we’ll change anything in tomorrow morning’s warm-up.”

Francis Batta (Team Manager)

“Seeing a rider crash is never good, and it’s always a bit worse when the rider is one of your own. Fortunately Ayrton was OK and probably a bit angry with himself. There was a small window in Superpole 1, when it looked like both Christian and Ayrton might get in to Superpole 2, but he crash ruined that for Ayrton. Christian also looked as if he would advance, but his chance faded as his qualifying tyre deteriorated. Nevertheless, we are making a lot of progress and, as long as we do that, we all know that progress will continue.”

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