File photo by Gold & Goose
JEREZ DE LA FRONTERA, Spain (Oct. 18, 2013) -- The eni FIM Superbike World Championship riders are into the last round of 2013 this weekend at the Circuito de Jerez in Spain and the last time the track hosted World Superbike race was in 1990. On Friday it was Italian racer Davide Giugliano launching the opening salvo by clocking the fastest time in the first qualifying session aboard his Althea Aprilia RSV4. Giugliano’s 1:42.374 was set late in the session and held in spite of hard charges by both Marco Melandri and Eugene Laverty in the closing minutes. Those two riders qualified second and third, respectively.
Qualifying continues Saturday with Superpole.
Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) was conservative in Friday’s session. He was uncharacteristically seventh fastest. Sykes enters the final showdown in confident mood after the double win in France, which allowed the Brit to extend his lead to a comfortable 37 and 38 points over the two remaining title contenders, Eugene Laverty and Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia Racing Team). With such a considerable margin over the rivals, Sykes could be crowned new World Superbike Champion after the first race Sunday by finishing in third place.
“I am quite relaxed,” Sykes said. “This will be the last round and it all boils down to the last round - again. Last year we were 30.5 points behind at this stage and now we are 37 points in front. We are in a much better position and that is the way I am looking at it. Hopefully come Sunday afternoon, if all things go well, then we can really enjoy the weekend."
Toni Elias, who was also fastest in FP1, jumped to the top of the timing charts early in the qualifying session, turning a 1:42.782 on the Red Devils Roma Aprilia. Shortly after setting that time however, Elias crashed. Marco Melandri pushed his factory BMW to second position with a 1:42.831 15 minutes into the session. Third was Eugene Laverty, who came back from a fall early in the session on the factory Aprilia.
Halfway through the session Melandri jumped up to share the top spot turning a 1:42.782, the exact same time as Elias.
With five minutes to go it was Giugliano streaking around Jerez in a time of 1:42.374 on his satellite Aprilia to take P1. Melandri and Laverty were battling back and forth for second fastest.
Leon Camier and Max Neukirchner both returned to action at Jerez, but Loris Baz was forced to sit out after not passing a physical at the track. The Frenchman suffered a back injury in a crash during pre-race warm-up at the Nurburgring six weeks ago. Baz said was passed by his doctors in France to race, but the medical staff at Jerez would not give him the green light. Honda’s Jonathan Rea also elected to sit out the final round, still mending a broken leg suffered in Germany.
Jerez - FIM Superbike World Championship - Qualifying 1
1. Davide Giugliano (Althea Racing) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1'42.374
2. Marco Melandri (BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK) BMW S1000 RR 1'42.641
3. Eugene Laverty (Aprilia Racing Team) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1'42.756
4. Toni Elias (Red Devils Roma) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1'42.782
5. Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia Racing Team) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1'42.906
6. Leon Camier (Fixi Crescent Suzuki) Suzuki GSX-R1000 1'42.936
7. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1'43.114
8. Lorenzo Lanzi (Mesaroli Transports A.S.) Ducati 1098R 1'43.162
9. Chaz Davies (BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK) BMW S1000 RR 1'43.170
10. Jules Cluzel (Fixi Crescent Suzuki) Suzuki GSX-R1000 1'43.240
11. Xavi Fores (Team Ducati Alstare) Ducati 1199 Panigale 1'43.262
12. Ayrton Badovini (Team Ducati Alstare) Ducati 1199 Panigale 1'43.383
13. Mark Aitchison (Team Pedercini) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1'43.721
14. Broc Parkes (Monster Energy Yamaha - Yart) Yamaha YZF R1 1'43.786
15. Leon Haslam (Pata Honda World Superbike) Honda CBR1000RR 1'43.821
16. Sylvain Barrier (BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK) BMW S1000 RR 1'43.879
17. Michel Fabrizio (Pata Honda World Superbike) Honda CBR1000RR 1'43.958
18. Federico Sandi (Team Pedercini) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1'44.102
19. Max Neukirchner (MR-Racing) Ducati 1199 Panigale 1'44.248
20. Vittorio Iannuzzo (Grillini Dentalmatic SBK) BMW S1000 RR 1'45.328