Sylvain Guintoli upset the form book by taking pole position for tomorrow's World Superbike races at Monza. The Frenchman was much quicker than anyone else in the damp conditions on a circuit not expected to suit the Ducatis.
The BMWs looked like the bikes to beat in free practice and Marco Melandri backed that up with the fastest time in Superpole 1. The other three S1000RRs struggled in the tricky conditions tough with Michel Fabrizio and Ayrton Badovini finishing down in eleventh and thirteenth on the BMW Motorrad Italia bikes. Leon Haslam fared even worse and will start 14th.
The title contenders all made it safely through to Superpole 2 and Melandri moved straight to the top of the leaderboard with a 1:55.971. Carlos Checa slipped into second, 1.550s adrift but comfortably ahead of Jonathan Rea and Guintoli. The early times had been set on wet tyres but some chose to fit an intermediate rear and Tom Sykes used his to great effect, moving up to second with six minutes remaining.
The Yorkshireman's undefeated streak in Superpole was under serious threat though as Guintoli took over at the top, a tenth quicker than Melandri. The Effenbert Liberty rider still managed to find grip in his intermediates in the dying seconds and extended his lead still further with a 1:54.276.
Sykes was the only other rider to improve at the end, grabbing second, while Melandri stayed in the pits and dropped to third. Carlos Checa was fourth and his cause wasn't helped by a late switch to slicks. The change had come so late that the Spaniard had no time to start a flying lap, with the chequered flag coming out as he rounded the Parabolica.
Jonathan Rea heads the second row with Max Biaggi, Jakub Smrz and Davide Giugliano joining him. John Hopkins is next up in tenth after narrowly losing out to the second Althea Ducati in SP1 while Eugene Laverty rounds out the top ten. Leon Camier will line up twelfth, four places ahead of compatriot Chaz Davies.