Photography by Gold & Goose
In an eventful Superpole at Moscow Raceway on Saturday, Davide Giugliano raced his Althea Racing Aprilia RSV4 to Superpole, his first ever in World Superbike, with a time of 1:34.676. The final SP3 was blown wide open when Superpole master Tom Sykes crashed in his first lap of the final session, opening the door for the rest of the field and keeping Sykes from tying Ben Spies’ record of seven consecutive pole positions, as Sykes had won every Superpole from Round 2 onwards this year.
In a strange anomaly, Sykes ran the fastest time of Superpole (a 1:34.546 in SP2), but will start ninth on the grid.
Series leader Sykes starting on the third row tomorrow could make for an interesting pair of races Sunday. The weather forecast is also calling for a 90 percent chance of rain, so the Russian round will be races to watch.
Sykes had been dominant throughout the first two Superpole sessions, setting times considerably faster than the rest of the field. Then it went all wrong for the factory Kawasaki rider when he lowsided his ZX-10RR, seemingly doing little damage to himself, but the bike suffered enough damage that he wasn’t able to get back on the track.
Former AMA road racer Chaz Davies then took the top spot with a 1:34.833 on his factory BMW S1000RR and held it until nearly the very end of the session when Giugliano came through to steal the pole time. Aprilia’s Eugene Laverty joins Giugliano and Davies on the front row.
For Giugliano the Superpole marks a breakthrough. The 23-year-ol Roman comes into Moscow ranked ninth in the championship, but has frequently shown flashes of brilliance along the way.
“For me my first Superpole is fantastic for me and for my team,” said Giugliano, a former World Superstock champ who wears No. 34 on his bike because Kevin Schwantz was his childhood hero. “For tomorrow in the race I think is a two good race. I think, I don’t know. But for this day I’m very happy.”
For Davies the front-row start is a turnaround from a season that has saw him struggle at times.
“Sometimes you have to have the bad races to have the good ones,” Davies explained. “We learned a lot, even in the bad races. Sometimes it goes like that. I’m happy to here on the front row again. It was a good Superpole. I didn’t get the best lap out there. I kept rushing the front on the corners, but I’m happy to be on the front row and am looking forward to the races tomorrow.”
Laverty will start on the front row in Moscow for the second straight season in spite of having issues in the session.
“It was a difficult Superpole,” Laverty admitted. “I’m surprised to be on the front row. We were struggling for rear grip, but in the end we put in a good lap time and we’re there, right where we need to be. Hopefully it stays dry tomorrow and we’ll see.”
Race coverage from Moscow begins in the early morning hours of 3:45 am Eastern on Bein Sports.
Moscow - FIM Superbike World Championship - Superpole
1. Davide Giugliano (Althea Racing) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1'34.676
2. Chaz Davies (BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK) BMW S1000 RR 1'34.833
3. Eugene Laverty (Aprilia Racing Team) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1'34.934
4. Jonathan Rea (Pata Honda World Superbike) Honda CBR1000RR 1'35.058
5. Marco Melandri (BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK) BMW S1000 RR 1'35.115
6. Carlos Checa (Team Ducati Alstare) Ducati 1199 Panigale R 1'35.220
7. Jules Cluzel (Fixi Crescent Suzuki) Suzuki GSX-R1000 1'35.256
8. Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia Racing Team) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1'36.113
9. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1'34.546
10. Leon Camier (Fixi Crescent Suzuki) Suzuki GSX-R1000 1'35.761
11. Max Neukirchner (MR-Racing) Ducati 1199 Panigale R 1'35.788
12. Loris Baz (Kawasaki Racing Team) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1'36.033
13. Leon Haslam (Pata Honda World Superbike) Honda CBR1000RR 1'36.069
14. Ayrton Badovini (Team Ducati Alstare) Ducati 1199 Panigale R 1'36.286
15. Michel Fabrizio (Red Devils Roma) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1'36.329
16. Federico Sandi (Team Pedercini) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1'38.048
17. Vittorio Iannuzzo (Grillini Dentalmatic SBK) BMW S1000 RR 1'39.079
18. Lorenzo Savadori (Team Pedercini) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1'39.504