Rea takes Magny-Cours Pole in rain-hit Superpole session

by Robert Jones

Jonathan Rea took his sixth Pole Position of the 2019 World Superbike season at Magny-Cours in extremely tough conditions ahead of Michael Van Der Mark and Leon Haslam

After a delayed start to the twenty-five minute Tissot Superpole session due to torrential rain, it was championship leader Rea who immediately led the way.

Rea’s advantage was significant in the early running as he led the field by over a second. Once Rea pitted with ten minutes remaining, other riders such as Loris Baz, Eugene Laverty and Michael Van Der Mark all started improving their times and in the process challenge for top spot.

With track conditions gradually getting better, it was Van Der Mark who got closest to Rea, with the Dutchman coming +0.014s away from snatching pole position on his final flying lap. 

Rea’s teammate Haslam took third for the Kawasaki Ninja Racing team late on, while the standout performer of qualifying was Michael Ruben-Rinaldi in fourth place. 

This is Ruben-Rinaldi’s best qualifying effort of the year by far, and was even more impressive given the disastrous session for both Ducati riders Chaz Davies and Alvaro Bautista, who could only manage eleventh and fourteenth respectively. 

Back at the front of the grid, French rider Baz spent a considerable amount of time in second place during the session, but had multiple laps cancelled in the closing moments for track limits, and will line-up fifth for Saturday’s race one ahead of Tom Sykes in sixth. 

The third row will be led by Pata Yamaha’s Alex Lowes, with Eugene Laverty in eighth and the surprising Ryuichi Kiyonari in ninth. 

The Japanese rider has endured a tough return to the series in 2019, but produced his first top ten qualifying result of the season. Rounding out the top ten is Kiyonari’s Honda teammate Leon Camier on his return from injury. 

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