Suzuki Alstare new boy Sylvain Guintoli continued his steeping learning curve today at Portimao and managed to secure a third row grid position after posting the fifth fastest time in Superpole 1.
Although he couldn’t progress any further than Superpole 2, he showed that he has quickly come to grips with his GSX-R1000 K9 and will undoubtedly go even faster once he has become more familiar with the bike. Yukio Kagayama suffered some gearing problems today and a lack of grip with his qualifying tyres and wasn’t able to push hard enough in Superpole 1 and 2 to get into Superpole 3.
Ben Spies (Yamaha) took his 11th Superpole victory of the season with a lap of 1:42.412, over half a second ahead of his nearest rival, Shane Byrne (Ducati).
Sylvain Guintoli – 11th, 1:43.406:
“I am pretty happy and satisfied with how everything is going and I am really happy about how well we as a team are working already. It makes the job so much easier and is a great sign for the future. I am getting to know the bike better and better every time out and I am happy with the bike set-up and feel I can do a pretty good race pace. Everything is going in the right direction and I am feeling very positive about racing with this team. Although the third row is not wonderful, it’s not so bad and if I can make a couple of good starts, then I think I can fight for a good top-10 place. Yesterday, a funny thing happened when I had my first debrief with my mechanics, who are all French by the way. I had a lot to say and I talked and talked for nearly 10 minutes. Then I realised that some were looking at me a bit strange and I realised that I had been talking in English instead of French!”
Yukio Kagayama – 14th, 1:43.717:
“Not such a good day for me and I am not so happy because I really want some good results in my last race with the team tomorrow. Now I am way down the grid and I need two of the best starts of my life if I am to get good final positions. Today, I had some problems with the gears or gearbox and we couldn’t get the qualifying tyres to work with the bike. We also tried some different engine parts this afternoon, but the bike was not so easy to ride and so we will go back to what we know for tomorrow. The good news is that my times on race rubber are OK, so I am hoping that I still have a chance to end the season on a positive note.”
Final WSB Qualifying + Superpole: 1 Spies (USA-Yamaha) 1:42.412, 2 Byrne (GBR-Ducati) 1:42.996, 3 Fabrizio (ITA-Ducati) 1:43.015, 4 Rea (GBR-Honda) 1:43.126, 5 Haslam (GBR-Honda) 1:43.523, 6 Biaggi (ITA-Aprilia) 1:43.526. 11 Sylvain Guintoli (FRA-Suzuki Alstare) 1:43.406. 14 Yukio Kagayama (JPN-Suzuki Alstare) 1:43.717.