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Istanbul WSBK: Guintoli heads first qualifying from Melandri, Laverty

Aprilia’s Sylvain Guintoli again set the pace to lead the first World Superbike qualifying session at the Istanbul Park track, and clocked the fastest time of 1’56.190, that placed him firmly at the sharp end.

It must have felt like déjà vu for the England based Frenchman as in a repeat of the morning’s free practice Guintoli toppled GoldBet BMW’s Marco Melandri from the top of the timesheets.

The Italian was dominating the session and was the quickest racer from the start, but the former MotoGP lad could not match the pace of the Aprilia and his best time of 1’56.749 placed Melandri on a provisional front row, but he was six tenths of a second slower.


Guintoli’s Irish team-mate Eugene Laverty was hovering around the top ten quickest times, but with only two minutes left of the session, the Monaco based rider went third fastest with a 1’56.949, and in doing so pushed Kawasaki’s Tom Sykes down to fourth. The Huddersfield lad could not find the race pace to compete with Guintoli as he set a time that was nearly a second behind the provisional pole setter.

Red Devils rider Toni Elias rounded off the top five, followed by Fixi Crescent Suzuki’s Jules Cluzel. GoldBet BMW’s Chaz Davies ended the qualifying practice session seventh quickest with a 1’57.391.

Pata Honda’s Leon Haslam could not place his bike in the top five fastest times, like he did earlier in the day. The Brit could only manage ninth fastest, with stand in team-mate, Michel Fabrizio rounding off the top ten. The Italian is racing instead of Jonathan Rea, who is recovering from a broken leg after a crash at the last World Superbike round in Germany.

Fixi Crescent Suzuki’s Leon Camier did not participate in this afternoon's QP1 as he is still getting checked out at a nearby hospital. The tall Kent rider had a huge highside in the first free practice session and has a suspected broken foot and other leg injuries.

But Camier was not the only casualty from this morning's free practice session, as only fifteen riders were out on track in the final outing of the day. Ducati Alstare team-mates Carlos Checa and Ayrton Badovini did not make it out for qualifying practice after crashing in the earlier session today, and neither did MR-Racing’s Max Neukirchner. The extent of the rider’s injuries has not been confirmed, but former champ, Checa was being assessed at the medical centre at the track.

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