Yamaha's Cal Crutchlow battled to the head of the pre-race rankings at Magny-Cours round of the Superbike World Championship, earning his sixth Superpole of the season.
Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha Sterilgarda) battled to the head of the pre-race rankings at Magny-Cours round of the Superbike World Championship, taking a new track best of 1:37.699 in Superpole Three to earn his sixth pole of the season.
“It’s nice to be going into my last World Superbike race before I head off, with a pole position,” Crutchlow said. “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!”
Series regular Sylvain Guintoli (Suzuki Alstare) rode to second place at his home round.
“What I wanted was the pole but unfortunately Cal just managed to get it ahead of me,” he commented. “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.”
Czech rider Jakub Smrz (Pata B&G Aprilia) made it three different bikes in the top three grid positions on his private RSV4.
“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,” Smrz said.
“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!”
The front row for tomorrow’s races was completed by new champion, Max Biaggi (Aprilia Alitalia), despite the Roman rider suffering from a cold.
“I’m not feeling great but things were going okay,” Biaggi explained. “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.”
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).
Australia’s 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.
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 World Supersport qualifying session.
The Turkish rider 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 (Provec Motocard.com Kawasaki) is third, because of his fast Friday time and French WSS legend Fabien Foret (Lorenzini by Leoni Kawasaki) is the final front row qualifier.
Australia’s Broc Parkes (Kawasaki Motocard.com) was fifth fastest.