It rained this morning but the rain had stopped by the time the race started, but the conditions meant that the race was reduced from twenty-one to nineteen laps.
Press releases from the series organizers and the World Superbike and World Supersport teams after qualifying at Magny-Cours:
Qualifying for World Superbike's penultimate pair of races for 2014 took place today, and the French circuit of Magny-Cours, designed by the ubiquitous Hermann Tilke, had been resurfaced in places since last year, making the track a little bit quicker. Rain has been predicted as possible tomorrow, which would mean qualifying is merely an indicator of where everyone starts the race and not a prediction of pace.
Tom Sykes continues his title defence with the fastest lap in the untimed session ahead of Superpole with Marco Melandri very close behind. The session was red-flagged with twenty-one minutes remaining due to Sykes crashing at the final chicane after setting the fastest lap. The session resumed shortly after, but Sykes missed out on over ten minutes of tracktime.
With five manufacturers in the top six, Sylvain Guintoli is quickest in France.
Press releases from the World Superbike and World Supersport teams after the first day of practice at Magny-Cours:
Davide Giugliano sets the first 1'37 of the meeting, ahead of Eugene Laverty and Sylvain Guintoli.
Sylvain Guintoli pips Tom Sykes in front of his home crowd.
Press release previews from the World Superbike organizers and teams ahead of this weekend's penultimate round at Magny-Cours:
Alex Lowes has extended his contract with the Voltcom Crescent Suzuki team for another season. The 24-year-old Englishman is to stay in World Superbikes for 2015, where he will race the GSX-R1000.
Lowes' decision brings an end to rumors that the Englishman was set to join his brother in the Grand Prix paddock. Lowes had explored a number of options in Moto2, but none stacked up against remaining with the Voltcom Suzuki team in WSBK.
Who Lowes' teammate will be is uncertain. With Eugene Laverty set to move to MotoGP with the Aspar team, there is an empty seat in the team. The departure of Aprilia from WSBK puts a number or riders on the market, with Leon Camier and Loris Baz the top riders still without a ride
The press release from Suzuki announcing the re-signing of Lowes appears below:
LOWES RE-SIGNS FOR VOLTCOM CRESCENT SUZUKI
Team Suzuki Press Office – September 25.
Alex Lowes will continue his partnership with Voltcom Crescent Suzuki for the 2015 eni FIM Superbike World Championship season.
Lowes is confident his progression with the Suzuki GSX-R will allow him to become a consistent front-runner during his second season in the Championship and the British racer is eager to return to the tracks he has been learning as part of his apprenticeship year.
Michael van der Mark will be moving up to the World Superbike class for the 2015 and 2016 seasons. The move had been widely expected, after the 22-year-old Dutchman had shown a very strong progression in his second World Supersport season, culminating in clinching the title with a thrilling at the last round in Jerez.
Van der Mark is to stay with the Ten Kate team, who recognized his talent early and supported him throughout his European Superstock 600 and World Supersport career, putting him on the CBR1000RR in the Pata Honda WSBK squad. Though Van der Mark will be staying with the team, his contract is now directly with Honda, rather than with Ten Kate. The deal with Honda is a three-year one, with Van der Mark aiming to make the move to MotoGP after two seasons in World Superbikes with Pata Honda.
The Dutchman will be taking the place of the departing Jonathan Rea in the Pata Honda team. Though Rea had come close to signing a deal in the MotoGP paddock, where he had several offers, the 27-year-old is to make the switch to the Kawasaki team, where he will attempt to dethrone his new teammate and World Superbike champion Tom Sykes. The second slot in the Pata Honda team will be taken by Sylvain Guintoli.
Below is the press release issued by the Pata Honda team:
Two years of World Superbike for van der Mark and Honda
To the surprise of absolutely nobody, Pirelli is to remain the official tire supplier for the World Superbike championship until at least the end of the 2018 season. The Italian brand has held the contract to supply tires to WSBK since the introduction of control tires back in 2004, and their continued involvement was widely expected. The World Superbike championship, under both Dorna and their predecessors Infront Motor Sports and FG Sport, have been very happy with the job done so far by Pirelli, and there was little reason to change.
Pirelli won the tire contract after a short tender process, but it is not believed that Pirelli had any serious competition for the role. Bridgestone has only just withdrawn from MotoGP, and is considering its involvement in motorsports; Michelin has just taken over the MotoGP contract from Bridgestone, and has its hands full; and Dunlop is focused on its role in Moto2 and Moto3, and showed little interest in expanding into World Superbikes.
The official press release appears below:
Pirelli Official Tyre Supplier for the eni FIM Superbike World Championship for the 2016-2018 seasons
Team orders, an unpopular aspect of team racing, usually come into play at this point of a title chase, with Eugene Laverty gifting Max Biaggi points to win the 2012 championship being the most blatant example of recent years.
Press releases from the series organizer and the World Supersport and World Superbike teams after Sunday's thrilling races at Jerez: