It looks as the though the tight and twisty 2.437-mile Moscow Raceway in Russia is a Ducati-user-friendly racetrack as the 1098Rs ruled the roost in today's provisional qualifying for Sunday's two World Superbike races at the new facility.
Ducatis ended the day one-two-three on the time sheets with Althea Racing's Davide Giugliano besting his teammate Carlos Checa by .210 of a second to claim provisional pole position heading into tomorrow's qualifying and Superpole. But that wasn't it for Ducati as Pata Racing's Sylvain Guintoli slotted his 1098R into third, the trio of Ducati's leading the Marco Melandri with the BMW-mounted Italian filling the provisional front row.
Giugliano lapped at a best of 1:35.074 - some .6 of a second quicker than Melandri's time that led the morning session. Checa was .210 of a second behind his young teammate with Guintoli .677 of a second off the top man's best. Melandri improved in the afternoon session to a 1:35.772 - .691 of a second behind Giugliano.
In total, 10 riders lapped within a second of Giugliano as things got tight down the order. The session wasn't without incident for the Althea men, however, as both hit the gravel traps at one point during the session.
Chaz Davies ended up the top Aprilia man in fifth spot, the Welshman and his ParkinGo MTC Racing RSV4 outclassing the Max Biaggi and Eugene Laverty on the two factory bikes. Biaggi and Laverty ended up 13th and 17th, respectively.
Davies ended up .831 of a second behind the top Ducati and just .077 of a second ahead of Kawasaki's Tom Sykes. Then came Lorenzo Zanetti on the second PATA Racing Ducati and Hiroshi Aoyoma, the former MotoGP rider having his best qualifying to date in a horrible season for the Japanese rider.
BMW's Leon Haslam and Honda's Jonathan Rea rounded out the top 10.
John Hopkins, the lone American in World Superbike, ended Friday with the 14th best time.
Loriz Baz, who won his first career World Superbike race in the rain at Silverstone three weeks ago, crashed in the first session on his third lap. He ended up 12th in the second session.
Effenbert Liberty Racing's Jakub Smrz and Maxime Berger aren't in Russia as the team made good on its promise not to show up in Moscow.
1. Davide Giugliano (Ducati) 1:35.074
2. Carlos Checa (Ducati) 1:35.284
3. Sylvain Guintoli (Ducati) 1:35.751
4. Marco Melandri (BMW) 1:35.772
5. Chaz Davies (Aprilia) 1:35.828
6. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) 1:35.905
7. Lorenzo Zanetti (Ducati) 1:35.980
8. Hiroshi Aoyoma (Honda) 1:35.988
9. Leon Haslam (BMW) 1:36.039
10. Jonathan Rea (Honda) 1:36.061