Leon Haslam coped best with atrocious conditions to claim pole position for tomorrow’s World Superbike races at Magny Cours. The Aprilia rider was one of many riders to crash in pouring rain but the Briton had already done enough to take his second pole of the season.
Kawasaki had enjoyed a comfortable advantage during the free practice sessions, all of which had taken place in dry conditions, but a change in the weather led to a change in fortunes. Tom Sykes, chasing a 30th career pole, was the first rider caught out as the back end of his ZX-10R stepped out at Imola, ending his session inside the opening eight minutes.
With the 2013 champion in trouble, home supporters had their eyes on the 2014 champion but Sylvain Guintoli’s hopes of a first pole position for PATA Honda were extinguished after a crash at the Adelaide hairpin. The slip-ups didn’t stop there with Guintoli’s future teammate Alex Lowes losing control of his Voltcom Crescent Suzuki three minutes from time but this incident looked to have left the Briton nursing an injury, forcing race direction to bring out the red flags.
Haslam had sneaked in a 1:56.404 moments before the session was halted and that time would prove critical when he became the next rider to fall, highsiding his Aprilia at Nurburgring when SP2 resumed. Jonathan Rea had steered clear of such dramas and looked on target to snatch pole but a poor final sector saw him come up short by four thousandths of a second, much to Aprilia’s delight.
Niccolo Canepa secured his second consecutive front row start with a stunning late effort on the Althea Ducati, knocking Chaz Davies down to fourth after the Welshman joined the lengthy list of riders to come unstuck. Guintoli held onto fifth ahead of SP1 qualifiers Luca Scassa and Leon Camier while Ayrton Badovini climbed to eighth at the expense of Tom Sykes.
FASSI FRENCH ROUND: SUPERPOLE CLASSIFICATION
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