Sylvain Guintoli earned his first-ever World Superbike win a few weeks ago at Assen and today he backed that up with his first-ever World Superbike pole position, the Frenchman ending up the fastest in today’s wet/damp, two-session Superpole in Monza, Italy.
Guintoli shot to the top with two and a half minutes to go with a 1:55.876, then went faster on his very last lap, ripping off a 1:54.276 with the mark standing to the end. And it was a good thing he did that last lap because otherwise Tom Sykes would have had his fourth straight pole, the Kawasaki rider also dipping into the 1:54s with a 1:54.990 on his final lap. The pole was not only Guintoli’s first, but also a first for the Effenbert Liberty Ducati team.
Third in the session went to BMW’s Marco Melandri, the Italian 1.6 seconds behind Guintoli when all was said and done. Although he was still on the front row, Melandri and BMW have to be disappointed after the brand totally dominated dry qualifying. And yesterday’s fastest qualifier, Michel Fabrizio, slipped all the way back to 11th in the iffy conditions on his BMW with Melandri’s teammate Leon Haslam ending up 14th.
Melandri will be joined on the front row by World Champion Carlos Checa, the Spaniard and his Althea Racing Ducati well off the pace in the damp session with his 1:56.793.
Row two for tomorrow’s two races will be led by Honda’s Jonathan Rea, the Northern Irelander leading Aprilia’s Max Biaggi, Guintoli’s teammate Jakub Smrz and Checa’s teammate Davide Giugliano.
American John Hopkins just missed out on making it through to Superpole two and the Crescent Fix Suzuki rider will lead row three after qualifying ninth.
1. Sylvain Guintoli (Ducati) 1:54.276
2. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) 1:54.990
3. Marco Melandri (BMW) 1:55.971
4. Carlos Checa (Ducati) 1:56.973
5. Jonathan Rea (Honda) 1:57.630
6. Max Biaggi (Aprilia) 1:58.666
7. Jakub Smrz (Ducati) 1:59.718
8. David Giugliano (Ducati) 2:00.645
9. John Hopkins (Suzuki) 1:59.489
10. Eugene Laverty (Aprilia) 1:59.680