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Oct 6, 2012

Sykes Wins Ninth World Superbike Superpole Of The Season, At Magny-Cours (Updated)

Tom Sykes (66).
FIM Superbike World Championship
Magny-Cours, France
October 6, 2012
Final Qualifying Results, After Superpole (all on Pirelli tires):

From Superpole Knockout Session Three:
1. Tom SYKES, UK (Kawasaki ZX-10R), 1:36.950
2. Carlos CHECA, Spain (Ducati 1098R), 1:37.422
3. Eugene LAVERTY, Ireland (Aprilia RSV4 Factory), 1:37.516
4. Marco MELANDRI, Italy (BMW S1000RR), 1:37.658
5. Sylvain GUINTOLI, France (Ducati 1098R), 1:37.901
6. Jonathan REA, UK (Honda CBR1000RR), 1:38.252
7. Leon HASLAM, UK (BMW S1000RR), 1:38.280
8. Chaz DAVIES, UK (Aprilia RSV4 Factory), 1:38.425

From Superpole Knockout Session Two:
9. Leon CAMIER, UK (Suzuki GSX-R1000), 1:38.072
10. Max BIAGGI, Italy (Aprilia RSV4 Factory), 1:38.095
11. Michel FABRIZIO, Italy (BMW S1000RR), 1:38.318
12. Claudio CORTI, Italy (Kawasaki ZX-10R), 1:38.516

From Superpole Knockout Session One:
13. Loris BAZ, France (Kawasaki ZX-10R), 1:38.548
14. Maxime BERGER, France (Ducati 1098R), 1:38.727
15. Davide GIUGLIANO, Italy (Ducati 1098R), 1:38.807
16. Lorenzo ZANETTI, Italy (Ducati 1098R), 1:39.354

The Rest of the Grid:
17. Ayrton BADOVINI, Italy (BMW S1000RR), 1:39.430
18. Hiroshi AOYAMA, Japan (Honda CBR1000RR), 1:39.750
19. John HOPKINS, USA (Suzuki GSX-R1000), 1:40.538
20. Alexander LUNDH, Sweden (Kawasaki ZX-10R), 1:40.882
21. Norino BRIGNOLA, Italy (BMW S1000RR), 1:42.461

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

Ninja warrior Sykes makes it nine poles in 2012

Magny-Cours (France), Saturday 6 October 2012 Tissot-Superpole was won for the ninth time in 2012 by Kawasaki Racing Team rider Tom Sykes, after a he set a new track best of 1 minute 36.950 seconds in Superpole 3 at Magny-Cours. Sykes now has nine Tissot-Superpole successes to his credit this year, and 11 in his relatively short SBK career. Carlos Checa (Althea Racing Ducati) posted second quickest time, over half a second away from Sykes, while Eugene Laverty (Aprilia Racing Team) held off the attentions of Marco Melandri (BMW Motorrad Motorsport), who will line up on the front row in fourth place. Championship leader Max Biaggi (Aprilia Racing Team) is only tenth on the grid after failing to get out of Superpole 2. This puts him on the third row of the grid for Sunday's races.

Tom Sykes: "It's nice for me to start in pole position, I'm not a big fan of this place, but the ZX-10R is working very nice and I'm able to do what is needed with the bike. We've been consistent, our dry race setting is very good and when we put in the Pirelli qualifying tyres the Kawasaki seems to accept these very well. It makes my life easier and I'm looking forward to tomorrow."

Carlos Checa: "I have great memories from last year when I won here, and arriving here for our last race this year, it's a great satisfaction to bring the Ducati 1198 to the front row in its last race. Hopefully tomorrow we can have some great races and finish as best as we can."

Eugene Laverty: "I went for a second lap in qualifying, took a bit of a breather then went for it again, but I've been struggling all weekend in the last sector and I lost the front and the rear came around as well. It was all action I didn't really need, that but what's important is the front row after a tough weekend."

PATA Ducati rider Sylvain Guintoli was a popular top five rider in Superpole at his home round, while Jonathan Rea (Honda World Superbike Team) put himself into the top six. Leon Haslam (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) pushed to seventh despite a badly injured right index finger. Chaz Davies (ParkinGO MTC Racing Aprilia) completed the top eight after making a great improvement on his early qualifying places. Leon Camier (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) finished up ninth on the grid one place ahead of Max Biaggi.

Tissot-Superpole Times: 1. Sykes (Kawasaki) 1'36.950 average 163.792 kph; 2. Checa (Ducati) 1'37.422; 3. Laverty (Aprilia) 1'37.516; 4. Melandri (BMW) 1'37.658; 5. Guintoli (Ducati) 1'37.901; 6. Rea (Honda) 1'38.252; 7. Haslam (BMW) 1'38.280; 8. Davies (Aprilia) 1'38.425; 9. Camier (Suzuki) 1'38.072; 10. Biaggi (Aprilia) 1'38.095; 11. Fabrizio (BMW) 1'38.318; 12. Corti (Kawasaki) 1'38.516; 13. Baz (Kawasaki) 1'38.548; 14. Berger (Ducati) 1'38.727; 15. Giugliano (Ducati) 1'38.807; 16. Zanetti (Ducati) 1'39.354; etc.

World Supersport

Broc Parkes (Ten Kate Racing Products Honda) posted the pole position time at Magny-Cours today, making this the third race he will start off the front of the grid this year. The Aussie rider is a big fan of Magny-Cours and he is closely followed in the pre-race rankings by a rider with an even closer connection to the track, Frenchman Fabien Foret (Kawasaki Intermoto Step). Another local man, Jules Cluzel (PTR Honda) could not improve his best time today and thus dropped to third on the grid, with the new class champion, Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Lorenzini) fourth. The second row is headed by a British rider, Sam Lowes (Bogdanka PTR Honda), while Gabor Talmacsi (PRORACE Honda) is sixth and Sheridan Morais (Kawasaki Lorenzini) seventh.

Results: 1. Parkes (Honda) 1'41.545 average 156.380 kph; 2. Foret (Kawasaki) 1'41.742; 3. Cluzel (Honda) 1'41.886; 4. Sofuoglu (Kawasaki) 1'41.937; 5. Lowes (Honda) 1'41.943; 6. Talmacsi (Honda) 1'42.108; 7. Morais (Kawasaki) 1'42.265; 8. Iannuzzo (Triumph) 1'42.440; 9. Roccoli (Yamaha) 1'42.454; 10. Baldolini (Triumph) 1'42.499; etc.

Superstock 1000

Championship points leader Sylvain Barrier (BMW Motorrad Italia GoldBet) set a new track best of 1 minute 41.079 seconds on his way to pole for the final race of the year in the FIM Superstock 1000 Cup race. Eddi La Marra (Barni Racing Team Italia Ducati) went second quickest, with the top four riders in the points rankings all on the front row for Sunday's championship decider. Jeremy Guarnoni (MRS Kawasaki) starts from third spot on the grid, Bryan Staring (Team Pedercini Kawasaki) is fourth, just over half a second from pole man Barrier. Any one of three riders can win the title, Barrier, La Marra and Staring.

Results: 1. Barrier (BMW) 1'41.079 average 157.101 kph; 2. La Marra (Ducati) 1'41.316; 3. Guarnoni (Kawasaki) 1'41.481; 4. Staring (Kawasaki) 1'41.643; 5. Gildenhuys (BMW) 1'41.849; 6. Savadori (Ducati) 1'41.866; 7. Reiterberger (BMW) 1'41.994; 8. Bergman (Kawasaki) 1'42.076; 9. Mercado (Kawasaki) 1'42.097; 10. Massei (Honda) 1'42.337; etc.

Superstock 600

The UEM Superstock 600 European Championship title went to Michael van der Mark (EAB Junior Team Honda) after he won an incredibly close final race of the year against his only rival Riccardo Russo (Team Italia FMI Yamaha). The pair made contact many times as they jostled for position in the early stages and only on the final couple of laps in the 12 lap race did van der Mark make his advantage stick, winning by 1.226 seconds. The final points score was van der Mark 219, Russo 207. Local rider Mathieu Marchal (Coutelle Racing Team Yamaha) came out on top in a three-rider fight for the final podium place. Third overall in the championship is Belgian rider Gauthier Duwelz (MTM Yamaha) who was ninth today.

Results: 1. Vd Mark (Honda) 12 Laps/52.932 km in 21'07.849 average 150.298 kph; 2. Russo (Yamaha) 1.226; 3. Marchal (Yamaha) 3.617; 4. Cecchini (Honda) 4.080; 5. Morbidelli (Yamaha) 4.399; 6. Schacht (Honda) 4.511; 7. Chesaux (Honda) 5.398; 8. Suchet (Honda) 5.516; 9. Duwelz (Yamaha) 7.236; 10. Vitali (Yamaha) 8.310; etc.

Final points: 1. Vd Mark 219; 2. Russo 207; 3. Duwelz 98; 4. Schacht 75; 5. Nestorovic 74; 6. Morbidelli 74; 7. Vitali 72; 8. Gamarino 61; 9. Calero Perez 59; 10. Chesaux 59; etc.

KTM European Junior Cup

Lukas Wimmer (MSC Schalchen) posted a clear win in the first KTM European Junior Cup race of the weekend at Magny-Cours. Second, after an epic fight by an eventual five riders, went to Gaston Garcia (KTM Espana) after a tough last lap fight with Guillaume Raymond (Vaillance Racing). Fourth was Polish rider Artur Wielebski (Bogdanka Junior Team Poland) and fifth his team-mate Adrian Pasek. Wimmer is now 22 points clear with one race remaining tomorrow."ƒ

Results: 1. Wimmer (KTM) 8 Laps/35.288 km in 15'23.962 average 137.491 kph; 2. Garcia (KTM) 2.370; 3. Raymond (KTM) 2.547; 4. Wielebski (KTM) 2.896; 5. Pasek (KTM) 2.995; 6. Harland (KTM) 6.584; 7. Vidal (KTM) 13.715; 8. Odegard (KTM) 14.844; etc.

Points (after 7 of 8 rounds): 1. Wimmer 120; 2. Garcia 98; 3. Orellana 75; 4. Vidal 73; 5. Wielebski 72; 6. Pasek 65; 7. Patterson 57; 8. Demoulin 48; 9. Odegard 48; 10. Kyee 47; etc.

More, from a press release issued by Althea Racing:


Nevers (France), Saturday 6 October 2012: a more than satisfactory result for Carlos Checa (Althea Racing) in today's Superpole at the French circuit of Magny-Cours. The Spanish rider will start the final races of the 2012 World Superbike season, taking place tomorrow, in second position. A disappointing outcome for Davide Giugliano on the other hand who will line up in on the fourth row.

In the second qualifying session that took place this morning in dry and sunny conditions, both riders were able to improve on their best times set yesterday. While Checa recorded the second fastest time of the session (1'38.5), Giugliano was able to improve on yesterday's performance by two tenths to close this morning's session in eighth position (1'38.7). Once the result of the two qualifying sessions were combined, Carlos lay in third position overall, Davide eighth, with both therefore qualifying without difficulty for this afternoon's Superpole.

In the final practice session Giugliano and Checa worked with their technicians to make final set-up refinements ahead of the Superpole. Checa lost a lot of time due to a technical problem with his bike. He was only able to make a handful of laps and his technicians had to work hard to resolve the problem in time for the beginning of the Superpole.

Superpole 1 in this first phase Carlos immediately made one clean lap (1m37.9) which put him in third place, meaning he had no need to make a second exit and progressed easily into the second phase. Giugliano had to make a second exit with a qualifying tyre, and put in two laps. Unfortunately he was unable to make the most of the tyre and closed the session in fifteenth position. Davide will therefore start on the fourth row of tomorrow's grid.

Superpole 2 Checa once again made one fast lap, improving on his first-phase performance by another three tenths of a second (1m37.6). Thanks to that time he closed this phase in second position, right behind Sykes.

Superpole 3 in a repetition of phase 2, Carlos improved once more on his time, lowering it by another couple of tenths to record a best of 1m37.4 He lay in first place until the final seconds when Sykes relegated him to second position. The Althea rider is nevertheless very happy to be able to start tomorrow's races from the front row.

Carlos Checa:
"I have some great memories of this track last year of course while this year we are saying farewell to the 1198. For this reason I'm really happy to be on the front row, and I hope to be up there with the leaders right through the races. This bike has had a long history, and a successful one, and it would be nice to close this chapter of my career by scoring the best possible results with this bike for the last time. Tomorrow we'll see what the conditions are like, seeing as they forecast rain overnight tonight, and I'll push as hard as I can to finish 2012 on a high note."

Davide Giugliano:
"I'm very disappointed with how today's Superpole turned out for me. We'd been working really well all weekend and, like I said yesterday, I was feeling confident. Then today the Superpole unfortunately didn't go as I had hoped and I'll be starting from the fourth row. I'd hoped to do a lot more to be honest, but I wasn't able to push as hard as I wanted with the qualifying tyre. Tomorrow will be difficult but I won't give up."

More, from a press release issued by Aprilia:



Magny-Cours, 6 October 2012 - Max Biaggi and the Aprilia Racing Team faced a difficult Saturday at Magny-Cours for Superpole, the prologue to tomorrow's races which will determine the 2012 World SBK Championship.

Max Biaggi started off strong, setting the best time in the first Superpole session with an excellent 1'37.790 which seemed to be good foreshadowing for the rest of the afternoon. But the current championship leader was unable to duplicate the performance in the second session where he finished in tenth place, stopping the clock at 1'38.095. This is a placing which will force the championship leader to start from the third row tomorrow.

Max Biaggi: "I'm obviously a bit disappointed because I made a few mistakes in the fast lap with the qualifying tyre that kept me from staying in the top eight. 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".

The day went decidedly better for Eugene Laverty who, once making it into the top eight for the third and decisive session, rode his way to the front row, stopping the clock with the third best time at 1'37.516.

At the end of the day the rider from Northern Ireland made no attempt to hide his surprise: "To be honest I didn't expect to take third place. After the practice session I thought I would be battling for a spot on the second row. For the races tomorrow we'll be a bit at the mercy of the weather which could change everything. In any case we still need to shave a few tenths of a second off our race pace in order to battle with the front runners."

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

Magny-Cours Qualifying Practice 2 & Superpole.
Saturday, 06th October 2012.

Weather conditions: Sunny in the morning, overcast in the afternoon.
Temperature: Air: 22 24 °C, Track: 20 30 °C
Number of riders participating: 21 from 12 teams
Fastest lap Qualifying Practices: Marco Melandri (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) 1:38.152 min
Fastest lap Superpole 3: Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) 1:36.950 min

At the final round of the 2012 FIM Superbike World Championship, Team BMW Motorrad Motorsport will start from the front rows again. Factory rider Marco Melandri (ITA) finished today's Superpole qualifying at Magny-Cours (FRA) in fourth and thus will tackle the last two races of the season from the front row. His team-mate Leon Haslam (GBR) qualified seventh for the second row after having some issues in the second part of the Superpole. In the two sessions, this morning and at noon, both riders showed promising performances with Marco setting the fastest lap times in both of the qualifying practices and the free practice. In Superpole 1, Marco and Leon made one outing with race tyres fitted to their BMW S 1000 RRs to easily progress to the second section. There both of them opted for the qualifying tyre for their first outings. While Marco comfortably qualified for the deciding Superpole 3, Leon was struggling with his tyre and returned to the garage immediately without having done a timed lap. His crew fitted Leon's second qualifying tyre with which the Englishman also progressed to the last part of the session. In Superpole 3, Marco secured fourth position on his second qualifying tyre while Leon had to set his times on the race tyres and finished seventh. Michel Fabrizio and Ayrton Badovini (both ITA) of the BMW Motorrad Italia GoldBet SBK Team will start tomorrow's races from 11th and 17th respectively.

Marco Melandri:
Fastest lap Qualifying Practices: 1:38.152 min (P1) / Fastest lap FP: 1:38.471 min (P1) / Fastest lap Superpole 3: 1:37.658 min (P4)
"Superpole was very good for me because my physical condition is not the best. 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 tyre 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. Tomorrow is going to be another difficult day. We have to wait and see what the weather will do. It looks like it is going to be wet and we have to see how my physical condition is. It is the end of the season and for one more time we will try our best. At this last round I hope to get another good result for BMW Motorrad."

Leon Haslam:
Fastest lap Qualifying Practices: 1:38.699 min (P7) / Fastest lap FP: 1:38.992 min (P7) / Fastest lap Superpole 3: 1:38.280 min (P7)
"For most of the year we struggled with the qualifying tyre. When today I had massive issues with my first qualifier in Superpole 2, I decided to not waste any time as we needed to make sure of getting into the top eight. So I used the other qualifying tyre with which we managed to get into Superpole 3. That meant I had no qualifying tyre left for the final section, so it was difficult but I am happy with the second row. Our race pace is good. I think the weather might take a turn tomorrow which is the norm this season. We really need to try and anticipate the weather. If it is going to be similar to the past two days I am feeling pretty confident with it all."

Andrea Dosoli (Head of Race Operations):
"For both riders it was a good Superpole again. Our target is always to start from the first two rows and we achieved that again which is important for tomorrow's races. Both riders have improved their feeling for the bike. They are able to lap faster and have a clear plan for tomorrow's races. Leon has done a good job. In practice he improved his performance and we are sure that he will start well from the second row and fight with the top guys. Marco feels a little bit better than yesterday but it will be a tough challenge for him to ride two 23 lap races. He is fast on one flying lap but we know that it will be difficult for him to maintain pace over race distance. But we are confident that he will have a good race because he feels more comfortable on the bike and he is a strong guy. We are looking forward to tomorrow with positive spirits."

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

FIXI Crescent Suzuki's Leon Camier will start tomorrow's final two races of the 2012 eni FIM Superbike World Championship season from the head of the third row after qualifying in ninth at Magny-Cours in France today.

Camier - who announced today that he will be remaining with the FIXI Crescent Suzuki team for next season - easily qualified for this afternoon's Superpole by finishing in 13th position in this morning's final timed practice. He made his way comfortably through Superpole 1 with the 10th quickest time around the 4,411m French track and then narrowly missed out on progressing to the final eight-rider shoot-out for the front two rows, by just 0.093 seconds. Camier looked like making Superpole 3, and was on his fast lap on a qualifying tyre, but had to ease off the throttle when Max Biaggi made a mistake at the final chicane right in front of him. Although the FIXI Crescent Suzuki man only lost a-fraction-of-a-second, it was enough to prevent him from getting into the final session. Camier will be looking to end the season in style, as he now looks to begin his preparation for 2013, now that his future with the team is sealed.

Camier will be FIXI Crescent Suzuki's sole representative for the rest of this weekend, following the decision by John Hopkins to withdraw from the event after aggravating his hip injury during this morning's session. Hopkins only managed two laps onboard his Yoshimura-powered Suzuki GSX-R today, before returning to the pits in a considerable amount of pain. More details on his condition will be announced once Hopkins has had the chance to assess the injury.

Today's pole position was secured by Tom Sykes on a Kawasaki, his ninth Superpole title of the season. Current championship leader Max Biaggi qualified in 10th, as he bids to win the sixth title of his career tomorrow. The pace of today's Superpole was so high, that the top-13 all finished inside the previous lap record time.

Camier will take to the Magny-Cours circuit for the 23-laps of race one at 12.00hrs local time (11.00hrs BST) on Sunday, with race two scheduled to get underway at 15.30hrs local time (14.30hrs BST), and with the title still up-for-grabs for Biaggi, Sykes and Marco Melandri, it looks like being an action-packed day.

Leon Camier:

"If it hadn't been for the incident in Superpole 2, I reckon I would've made it into Superpole 3. The margin between success and failure is so small and when you lose even a-fraction-of-a-second, it can make a big difference. But that's what racing's all about and once again I'm going to have to get good starts and get with the lead group as soon as I can. I know my race pace is good and the FIXI Crescent Suzuki is strong at the end of the races, so I'm pretty confident that I can be in the mix at the finish. The first turn is going to be very hectic for sure and, apart from making good starts, I need to keep out of trouble and then attack as soon as I can."

John Hopkins:

"It's a shame that my season ended this way, but my priority is to get my hip sorted out and if I had carried on today, I might have been a danger both to myself and the others on the track. There's hardly been a time this year when I've ridden without pain and last night I couldn't get any sleep because I just couldn't get comfortable, so I had no choice but to pull out."

Jack Valentine - Team Manager:

"Once again we've seen how competitive this series is and the smallest of differences can make or break your grid position. It's a shame that Leon missed out on Superpole 3, but we know what he and the FIXI Crescent Suzuki can do in the race and we'll all be hoping that he makes some good starts and be fighting with the leaders - as we know he can do. I am particularly happy because we've shown that our bike can be competitive and challenge the leaders and hopefully we'll see Leon get some more good results tomorrow.

"It is a pity that John couldn't finish the season. We've seen flashes of the old John this year, but he's obviously been in pain a lot of the time and that has stopped him from doing what he does best. We all wish him a speedy recovery and look forward to seeing him back in action at full strength again."

More, from a press release issued by Kawasaki:

Sykes Takes Ninth Pole Of His Incredible 2012 Season

WSBK, Magny-Cours, France, 6 October 2012

Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) set a new track best at Magny-Cours to take his ninth Superpole win in 14 attempts on the official 2012 Ninja ZX0-10R, underlining the pure pace of man and machine

Sykes set a 1'36.950 lap time on his way to the prime starting spot for Sunday's 23-lap races at the 4.411km circuit in the centre of France. With weather conditions set to be changeable and probably wet on raceday Sykes will now call on his good recent experiences in such conditions in his aim to score enough points to let him win the championship.

His main rivals, Marco Melandri and current points leader Max Biaggi, were fourth and tenth respectively after Superpole, putting Tom in a good position on the eve of the last raceday of an often successful season for the whole Kawasaki Racing Team. Some 30.5 points behind Biaggi, Tom now knows he has to simply go for the best results possible on race day to keep the pressure up on his rivals.

Silverstone race winner Loris Baz (Kawasaki Racing Team) overcame a bout of intestinal illness to get into the Superpole competition but running wide on the fast third turn cost him around 0.8 seconds at a crucial time and he could not progress all the way through Superpole at his home round. He is 13th on the grid.

Team Pedercini Kawasaki Superbike riders this weekend, Claudio Corti and Alexander Lundh, both made the Superpole cut but had very different fortunes. Corti, in his first SBK ride for the team, finally qualified a strong 12th on the grid after reaching Superpole 2. Lundh had a heavy fall in practice and suffered compound fractures of his T7 and T8 vertebrae, but without any neurological damage, although he will, of course, not race on Sunday.

In the Superstock 1000 FIM Cup Team Pedercini Kawasaki rider Bryan Staring still has a chance to win the title and today he qualified fourth, one place behind Jeremy Guarnoni (MRS Kawasaki). Leandro Mercado (Team Pedercini Kawasaki) was ninth.

Tom Sykes: "It is nice to get another circuit record and it is something a little bit personal for me. 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."

Loris Baz: "On my fast lap the feeling with the qualifying tyre compared to the race tyre was a little bit different and on the fast lap I went a little out of line on the long, fast, turn three. Without this mistake I could have gone into Superpole two. Our lap time is good on race tyres and we have made good improvements from Friday to now. I felt a little bit ill today but I am OK."

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

Second row start for Rea at Magny-Cours

Jonathan Rea will start tomorrow's final two World Superbike championship races of the 2012 season from the second row of the grid after setting the sixth fastest time in this afternoon's Superpole at Magny-Cours in France.

The 25-year-old Honda World Superbike Team rider was unable to make best use of a soft race tyre in Superpole one and was forced to use a qualifier to progress to the final two stages of the shoot-out.

British rider Tom Sykes took his ninth pole position of the season in his quest to prevent series leader Max Biaggi securing his second World Superbike title tomorrow. Biaggi struggled today and will start from the third row for tomorrow's two 22-lappers at the 4.411km Magny-Cours circuit.

Rea's Honda World Superbike team-mate, Hiroshi Aoyama, was unable to qualify for Superpole on his first visit to Magny-Cours and, with rain forecast for tomorrow, will start from the fifth row of the grid.

Jonathan Rea P6, 1m38.252s

I'm happy enough with the way the bike is working, even though there are a few areas that we need to brush up on. All in all our race package is OK but in Superpole 1 I wasn't able to be fast enough on the race tyre. We used our preferred race option instead of what might have been the faster option and we had to use one of our two qualifiers to get through to Superpole 2. It left us in Superpole 3 with no qualifiers, but a second row start is not a big drama. I'm looking forward to the two races tomorrow but the weather forecast isn't that great. It would be a shame, once again, to do all our weekend work on a dry track if tomorrow's to be wet. But it's out of our control and we'll just do the best we can.

Hiroshi Aoyama P18, 1m39.750s

I'm still struggling a bit with movement of the bike it's doing it almost everywhere, including on the straight, so it's making things difficult. We'll try some things in the morning and we'll have to hope that they will improve the situation. If it works, it'll be good and I hope I can make some progress and push some more. I can make a certain lap time but I can't go beyond that. I want to be able to push tomorrow because they will be my last two races with the team.

Pieter Breddels technical co-ordinator

Hiroshi didn't make it into Superpole and tomorrow will be his last races with us. Somehow this year, we weren't quite able to get him to gel with the bike to get some good results. It's a shame for him and the team but I hope that in tomorrow's races he can show his potential and move forward for some top ten finishes. With Jonathan we have proven today that we have a good race pace and rhythm. We struggled a bit with the ultimate lap time and ended up sixth, which is still good. It might rain tomorrow, when things will change again, but we saw in the full wet conditions in Portimao that we can be competitive when it's like that. Anything can happen and everything is possible.