Photography By: Gold & Goose
Although he couldn't match the time set in this morning's free practice by BMW's Marco Melandri, Team Effenbert Liberty Racing's Sylvain Guintoli ended Friday's first qualifying session at the Circuit van Drenthe in Assen, Holland with the quickest time, as the session started dry but finished wet.
Guintoli and Kawasaki's Tom Sykes were clear of the pack in the first qualifying session for Sunday's two World Superbike races at Assen, the pair separated by .030 of a second and almost a full second ahead of the third-placed rider, Crecent Fixi Suzuki's Leon Camier.
With both Guintoli and Sykes in the 1:37s with their 1:37.600 and 1:37.630, respectively, Camier and the rest were locked in the 1:38s and 1:39s. Conditiions were less than favorable and the times are still well off last year's best with Checa's fastest race lap a 1:36.647 in race two.
Camier's best was a 1:38.468, just fractions ahead of World Champion Carlos Checa. Checa had also lapped in the 1:37s in the free practice session, trailing Melandri's session-leading 1:37.582. Melandri, meanwhile, slipped down the order to eighth in the second session.
Honda World Superbike Team's Jonathan Rea was fifth in the first qualifier, the CBR1000RR-mounted rider fresh off a test here last week.
Then came BMW Motorrad Italia's Michel Fabrizio (another who had lapped in the 1:37s in the morning session) and his teammate Ayrton Badovini with both privateer BMWs ahead of the factory men.
Melandri was eighth with Maxime Berger and his Team Effenbert Liberty Racing Ducati ninth. ParkinGo MTC Racing Aprilia's Chaz Davies rounded out the top 10.
American John Hopkins ended the session in 13th, one spot better than BMW factory man Leon Haslam, the Brit having suffered a crash in the qualifying session.
Canadian Brett McCormick rode his Liberty Racing Team Effenbert Ducati to 15th, two spots better than former World Champion Max Biaggi.
PJ Jacobsen, meanwhile, ended his first-ever World Supersport qualifying session in 20th.
1. Sylvain Guintoli (Ducati) 1:37.600
2. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) 1:37.630
3. Leon Camier (Suzuki) 1:38.468
4. Carlos Checa (Ducati) 1:38.665
5. Jonathan Rea (Honda) 1:38.873
6. Michel Fabrizio (BMW) 1:39.062
7. Ayrton Baldovini (BMW) 1:39.125
8. Marco Melandri (BMW) 1:39.127
9. Maxime Berger (Ducati) 1:39.286
10. Chaz Davies (Aprilia) 1:39.362
13. John Hopkins (Suzuki) 1:39.770