Photography by Gold & Goose
Credit Loriz Baz’ Kawasaki crew. They must have had one eye on the weather radar and one eye on the timing screen because Baz wasted no time getting to business in Superpole at Assen. Getting on the gas early paid off as Baz beat the rain to clinch the top time and as a result scoring his first career World Superbike pole.
It will be two Frenchman heading the field with Baz and Aprilia’s Sylvain Guintoli starting one and two.
Baz started the proceedings early in SP2 by clocking a 1:35.165. Then it was Guintoli shooting to the top when he ran a 1:34.946, in spite of getting slightly balked on the lap. With five minutes to go the all the stops were pulled out. Baz went back to the lead with a 1:34.357, a new Assen Superbike track record eclipsing the record of 1:34.9 by Rea way back in 2010.
The strategies went out the window with about four minutes to go when it started spitting rain. Guintoli tried in vain to beat Baz’ time, but with moisture on the track in the final sections only managed massive slides out of his machine. He had to settle for second.
The rider the rain hurt worst was Chaz Davies, who was on pace for a front row start through most of the sectors when the rain began.
For Baz and crew it was all smiles.
“I’m really happy,” said Baz, who is starting his third season in World Superbike. “I think we did a good choice to start really early in the session. I felt a drop of rain after my lap, so that was really good. I’m really happy with my first time in the pole position. It seems that we’ve found something since Aragon with these tires. I’m looking for two more. I think we have a good pace on the race tires so it could be a good race.”
Guintoli said he took some comfort that he was the fastest rider on race tires. “That’s good for tomorrow,” he said. “Conditions in the end with my Q tire with a few drops in the two last sectors, so I didn’t really use it as I should have done.”
Series leader Tom Sykes will round out the front row starters on Sunday.
“It was good for my teammate” Sykes said of Superpole. “He did a great a great job. I think he was the only one to get a good lap before the rain. He timed it well and I wasn’t able to try my favorite tire of the weekend. I’m still looking forward to tomorrow. We have a good setting on the bike and I can’t wait to go racing.”
Niccolo Canepa was the top of the EVO machines, qualifying seventh on his Althea Ducati 1199 Panigale R.
Hero EBR riders Aaron Yates and Geoff May qualified 26th and 27th out of 28 riders.
The races could be interesting on Sunday with a 70 percent chance of rain predicted.
World Superbike Assen: Superpole qualifying results, Saturday, April 26, 2014
1. Loris Baz FRA Kawasaki Racing ZX-10R 1m 34.357s
2. Sylvain Guintoli FRA Aprilia Racing RSV4 1m 34.845s
3. Tom Sykes GBR Kawasaki Racing ZX-10R 1m 35.311s
4. Marco Melandri ITA Aprilia Racing RSV4 1m 35.333s
5. Jonathan Rea GBR PATA Honda CBR1000RR 1m 35.361s
6. Davide Giugliano ITA Ducati SBK 1199 Panigale R 1m 35.476s
7. Niccolo Canepa ITA Althea Ducati 1199 Panigale R 1m 35.500s (E)
8. Eugene Laverty IRL Voltcom Crescent Suzuki GSX-R1000 1m 35.646s
9. Alex Lowes GBR Voltcom Crescent Suzuki GSX-R1000 1m 35.684s
10. Toni Elias ESP Red Devils Roma Aprilia RSV4 1m 36.203s
11. Leon Haslam GBR PATA Honda CBR1000RR 1m 36.284s
12. Chaz Davies GBR Ducati SBK 1199 Panigale R 1m 36.288s
13. Leon Camier GBR BMW Italia S1000RR 1m 36.434s (E)
14. Ayrton Badovini ITA Bimota Alstare BB3 1m 36.547s (E)
15. David Salom ESP Kawasaki Racing ZX-10R 1m 36.749s (E)
16. Christian Iddon GBR Bimota Alstare BB3 1m 36.772s (E)
17. Claudio Corti ITA MV Agusta RC F4RR 1m 36.888s
18. Jeremy Guarnoni FRA MRS Kawasaki ZX-10R 1m 37.141s (E)
19. Sheridan Morais RSA IRON BRAIN Kawasaki ZX-10R 1m 37.280s (E)
20. Luca Scassa ITA Pedercini Kawasaki ZX-10R 1m 37.343s (E)
21. Michel Fabrizio ITA IRON BRAIN Kawasaki ZX-10R 1m 37.648s (E)
22. Fabien Foret FRA MAHI Kawasaki ZX-10R 1m 39.038s (E)
23. Alessandro Andreozzi ITA Pedercini Kawasaki ZX-10R 1m 39.771s (E)
24. Kervin Bos NED Winterb Honda CBR1000RR 1m 39.860s (E)
25. Imre Toth HUN Team Toth BMW S1000RR 1m 40.464s
26. Aaron Yates USA Team Hero EBR 1190RX 1m 41.502s
27. Geoff May USA Team Hero EBR 1190RX 1m 42.889s
28. Peter Sebestyen HUN Team Toth BMW S1000RR 1m 42.580s (E)