Press releases after qualifying and the first WorldSBK race at Magny-Cours from the organizers and some of the teams:
#FRAWorldSBK – Day 2:
WorldSBK 800th race sees Razgatlioglu taking his first WorldSBK victory ahead of Rea and Sykes
First Turkish winner in WorldSBK history as Razgatlioglu charges from 16th on the grid to deny Rea on the last lap
The Pirelli French Round produced one of the races of the WorldSBK season so far as five different riders lead at various stages, before Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team) crashed out of the lead three laps from home, seemingly handing victory to Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK), before a stunning final lap saw Toprak Razgatlioglu (Turkish Puccetti Racing) take the spoils, despite starting from the sixth row.
As the race got underway, Jonathan Rea came under immediate pressure from Michael van der Mark with two almost colliding into the Adelaide hairpin on lap one. Their duel allowed Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) to storm through from sixth on the grid to second by the end of lap one.
Sykes’ progress continued on Lap 2 as he used the corner speed of the BMW to overtake Rea at Estoril, although the leading group was growing and growing with Chaz Davies (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati) joining the action from 11th on the grid, while a remarkable early charge brought Toprak Razgatlioglu into play, despite starting down in 16th.
On Lap 3, Davies became the third different leader in as many laps but the Welshman’s challenge came to a dramatic end moments later with a crash into Turn 15. Davies’ lost the front end of his machine with second-placed Toprak Razgatlioglu fortunate to stay upright despite slight contact from the errant Ducati. The chaos allowed Sykes a moment of breathing space but the BMW rider was quickly reeled in, losing the lead to Michael van der Mark on Lap 6.
With the battle continuing to rage in the leading group, van der Mark was able to open up a slight advantage while Jonathan Rea came under intense pressure following a moment at the Nurburgring chicane. Toprak Razgatlioglu was able to edge ahead, setting the fastest lap in the process, but Rea ultimately regained P2 from the Turkish rider shortly after half-distance, allowing him to give chase after van der Mark who was 1.2 seconds to the good.
Behind the leading trio, Loris Baz (Ten Kate Racing – Yamaha) had established himself in an excellent fourth with Tom Sykes settling in fifth after an all-action start. Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team) was holding sixth but the Briton was coming under increasing pressure from Alvaro Bautista (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati) as the Spaniard chased valuable championship points. Leon Haslam (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) was also in the thick of the action but a highside at the final chicane eliminated him five laps from home.
With clear track in front, Jonathan Rea began his relentless chase of Michael van der Mark, wiping out his advantage heading into the closing stages. With three laps remaining, the leading pair were together but van der Mark’s hopes of a second victory of 2019 were extinguished when the front end of his Yamaha folded into the Adelaide hairpin, the pressure proving too much.
Rea seemed on course for a 12th victory of the season, beginning the final lap one second clear of Razgatlioglu but a stunning final lap from the Turkish rider brought him right into the tail of the Ulsterman entering the last sector. Under braking for Turn 15, Toprak dived up the inside with Rea keen to avoid a costly collision, opting to settle for second.
The fight for the final podium spot also went down to the wire with Tom Sykes rallying in the latter stages to overhaul Loris Baz, securing BMW’s fourth podium of the season. Baz held on to fourth while Alvaro Bautista recovered up to fifth in the end.
Alex Lowes faded to finish a distant sixth while Leon Camier (Moriwaki Althea Honda Team) marked his return from injury with a sensational ride to seventh, Honda’s best result of the 2019 season so far. Marco Melandri (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK) finished eighth, his best result since Misano, with Eugene Laverty (Team Goeleven) and Sandro Cortese completing the top ten.
In the end, van der Mark remounted to finish 13th to secure three points which may prove valuable in the ever-tightening race for third in the championship standings. At the top, Jonathan Rea has extended his advantage to 100 points over Alvaro Bautista, and the possibility remains of a fifth title being clinched tomorrow.
P1 - Toprak Razgatlioglu (Turkish Puccetti Racing)
“I am so happy! The last lap was so stressful for me because I knew I was faster. I tried to pass Johnny, but the front was sliding a lot. I pushed hard and tried to keep the bike straight, and I made it. It is my first victory, and I extremely pleased with this! I am crying! It has been my dream for this season, and I achieve that. Now we see what will happen next race. I don't know how tomorrow will be. I hope it won't be raining! Thanks to all my team because today that have done an incredible job".
P2 - Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK)
"I was expecting a fight because with these conditions no ones had the chance to work on the bike setup, so today was the same for everybody. I was a little bit worried in the beginning because the conditions were not perfect and in the first ten laps, I felt like we were racing like kids, but it was a lot of fun! When the race settled down, Van Der Mark kept a good rhythm, he went away and slowly I could catch him. I put my head down in the last laps, but I made a big mistake in the last lap and gave a big opportunity to Toprak to come and make that move. I am a little bit frustrated but happy with the result because the podium is a good result. I want to congratulate Toprak because he deserves this win, but we will try to change the order tomorrow".
P3 - Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team)
"I enjoyed riding today. I did a good start, and I settled in nicely. With the team with a made a small change to the bike between the last race and now that allowed me to ride with a little bit margin, so I really enjoyed riding my bike today. In the beginning, I swept positions with a few guys who were trying to get a better position, and we were able to fight. The chassis and the tyres stayed consistent throughout the race, sure we still to find some things in some area, but overall a podium is promising here giving that we are only tenth months now into the program. We are thrilled with our efforts, and hopefully, we can keep up the pace for tomorrow".
Podium for Tom Sykes and the BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team at Magny-Cours.
Tom Sykes comes home third on his BMW S 1000 RR after an exciting race in the FIM Superbike World Championship.
Tough Saturday for team-mate Markus Reiterberger.
Tom Sykes: “It was an eventful race and an absolute pleasure”.
Magny-Cours. Tom Sykes (GBR) claimed another WorldSBK podium for the BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team and the new BMW S 1000 RR. Sykes ended an exciting Saturday race at Magny-Cours (FRA) in third place, having actually led the race in the early stages. His team-mate Markus Reiterberger (GER) endured a difficult Saturday, finishing in 16th place. Magny-Cours is the venue for round eleven of the 2019 FIM Superbike World Championship (WorldSBK).
The morning’s Superpole was delayed by half an hour due to a dirty track. Earlier rainfall meant conditions were still wet and the special qualifying tyres could not be used. Sykes was sixth fastest on his RR, earning him a spot on the second row of the grid. Reiterberger qualified 19th.
By the start of the race at 14:00, the majority of the track was dry. Starting from sixth place, Sykes soon worked his way through the field and took the lead on his RR on lap two. He fended off all the attacks from behind and held onto first place in a fiercely-competitive leading group until lap six. The battles for position continued at the front of the field, and initially saw Sykes drop back to fifth place. When Michael van der Mark (NED / Yamaha) crashed out of the lead, Sykes adopted fourth place. However, the Brit was not happy with that position and pulled off a courageous manoeuvre on the penultimate lap to overtake Frenchman Loris Baz (Yamaha) and went on to claim another podium in third place. Reiterberger came home 16th, narrowly missing out on the points by just 0.3 seconds.
Quotes after race one at Magny-Cours.
Marc Bongers, BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director: “Tom’s third place is a strong result after chaotic weather conditions on Friday and Saturday morning. The practices on Friday, which took place in unsettled weather, were positive for Tom, although that was not reflected directly in the results. We were not able to take full advantage of our qualifying performance on wet tyres, as we did not select the ideal tyre type in the unsettled conditions. We had targeted the front row of the grid, but Tom at least managed to limit the damage with sixth place. Tom’s first lap was simply fantastic. By lap two we were running P1. From then on, the race was very eventful and full of changes. In all the commotion, we dropped back to fifth place. However, Tom delivered a really strong performance in the closing stages too, which allowed us to claim our next podium finish – with a little help from our rivals. That is very pleasing and confirms that our updates are performance-enhancing. Markus has been struggling with his confidence in the set-up of his RR all weekend. Unfortunately, he was also plagued by a problem with the electronics in the race which made his performances look worse.”
Shaun Muir, Team Principal BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team: “Tom was disappointed with superpole. We were happy with the result; Tom was focused on the front row but unfortunately we made the wrong choice in the tyre, nevertheless we were pleased with P6. Markus really struggled with the bike and felt as though he was riding on ice which reflected in his time. Unfortunately this continued into the race and he was too far back to really make an impact. Overall, race one was probably the best race of the season. Tom took the lead and battled really well, he conserved his tyre well and set a solid pace and maintained that pace to the very end. As expected, he got closer to the front guys towards the end of the race and picked off Loris Baz in the final few laps so we are extremely happy to add another podium to the season. We have gained a lot of information ahead of tomorrow and taken a great step forward in the development of the BMW S 1000 RR which is a credit to the whole of the BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team.”
Tom Sykes: “It was an eventful race and an absolute pleasure. I really enjoyed riding that one. A credit to the whole team; we’ve made some changes to the bike in between Portimão and here and it’s just nice as I am able to do things a little bit better on the track. I really enjoyed that race, especially in the beginning, battling with a few guys and just feeling in a better position and being able to fight. The chassis and the tyre really stayed consistent throughout the race. Certainly we need to find a little bit in some areas but overall a podium with just the two Kawasakis in front is really promising here given that we are only ten months into the programme. I am really, really happy with our efforts and hopefully we can keep this pace for tomorrow.”
Markus Reiterberger: “Unfortunately, I had issues with the electronics in practice this morning. As a result, I was only able to complete four or five laps when the track conditions were a bit drier. However, that was still good enough for 13th place. It then poured down again in the Superpole. As I spent more time than anyone on the track in these conditions yesterday, I did hope that this might play into my hands, however, I did not feel at all comfortable on the bike. The rear wheel was like riding on soap and I was unable to get any purchase. It was very difficult to ride. 19th place on the grid is not where I want to be starting from. Unfortunately, I did not get off to a good start in the race. It was generally very difficult to ride, partly because I had electronics problems again. I really hope that we identify the issue quickly and are soon able to find something that helps me.”
Van Der Mark Denied Victory Fight in Magny-Cours as Baz Narrowly Misses the Podium
Pata Yamaha WorldSBK rider, Michael van der Mark, looked set to claim his second win of the 2019 season in WorldSBK Race 1 at Magny-Cours this afternoon until, with just two laps of the race remaining, the Dutchman lost the front under braking for Turn 5 and crashed out of the lead. Van der Mark remounted to finish 13th, leaving Ten Kate Yamaha Supported WorldSBK rider, and home hero, Loris Baz, to lead the Yamaha riders home in fourth place, only narrowly missing out on his first podium finish.
Technical set up for the race, which was held in the driest conditions seen at Magny-Cours so far this weekend, was a calculated gamble given the lack of dry practice time, but it was obvious from the start that van der Mark's crew had gone in the right direction for both the track and the conditions.
Starting from the front row of the grid having qualified second in Superpole, van der Mark was in the thick of the action from the off, making aggressive moves to get the better of a five-way battle and take the lead seven laps into the race. As soon as he hit the front the Pata Yamaha rider immediately upped his pace and pulled a gap on the four riders disputing second place. Van der Mark maintained an advantage of around a second to his pursuers until reigning World Champion, Jonathan Rea, managed to close the gap with four laps to go.
One lap later van der Mark made an error under braking for Turn 5, running in a little bit too aggressively, losing the front and sliding off, handing the race lead to Rea. The Pata Yamaha rider remounted to finish 13th and is determined to make amends in the two races tomorrow.
After a strong start from the second row of the grid, Alex Lowes fought valiantly within the group contesting second place until a severe drop off in grip from the front tyre forced him to moderate his pace and settle for a solid sixth place at the line. The result consolidates his third place in the championship standings, giving him an 11-point advantage over today's race winner, Toprak Razgatlioglu in fourth and 12 points over his fifth placed teammate, van der Mark.
After a strong showing in the wet and mixed conditions yesterday, Marco Melandri's race aspirations took a blow when he crashed in Superpole and was forced to start today from the fourth row of the grid. Despite a less than perfect set-up on his GRT Yamaha YZF-R1, the Italian managed to fight his way through the pack to finish a creditable eighth in the 21-lap race.
The weather at Magny-Cours couldn't have been less kind to Sandro Cortese, who was making his debut at the French track aboard a Superbike. The reigning Supersport World Champion was hoping for dry conditions in which to adapt to the demands of the Superbike but was left disappointed when rain disrupted every practice session and Superpole was held on a fully wet track. Despite the limited dry track time, Cortese rode a solid race from 17th on the grid to secure another top ten finish this afternoon.
It was home hero Baz who eventually led the Yamaha riders home in fourth place today, despite struggling throughout the 21-lap race with the setup on his Ten Kate Yamaha YZF-R1. The Frenchman was poised to challenge Tom Sykes for the final podium place on the final lap, but a near highside at Turn 8 left Baz with too much ground to make up in the final two kilometres and he was forced to settle for a still impressive fourth at the chequered flag.
Michael van der Mark
Pata Yamaha WorldSBK - P13 - Championship P5 - 247 Points
"I made a mistake today. I was starting to struggle with the front a little in the later stages of the race, but I had too much brake and too much lean angle going into the hairpin at Turn 5 and I went down. I'm really sorry for the guys, who did an incredible job with my R1 given the lack of dry track time this weekend. There was a bit of chaos in the first few laps, but the bike felt really good and I felt really strong. Towards the end I was pushing, maintaining my rhythm, but I didn't feel on the limit. I could see Johnny was closing, but I wasn't stressing about that, but just trying to keep my own pace. The crash was down to a mistake on my part, but we know we have a good set up for the dry, which we'll work to improve further tonight, so I'll be out to make amends in the two races tomorrow. I enjoyed myself a lot today apart from the crash, the R1 was really fun to ride so thanks to Yamaha and my crew for a great package."
Pata Yamaha WorldSBK - P13 - Championship P3 - 259 Points
"I knew from the start that it was going to be a difficult race, because our dry track time this weekend has been so limited. I got a good start and made my way up to fourth, but then six or seven laps into the race I started to struggle a lot with the front tyre and by the end of the race, one side was completely destroyed. This meant that, unfortunately, the second half of the race was about making it to the finish rather than pushing to gain places, as there wasn't much more I could do. While we didn't have the package to fight today, we've got plenty of time to think about it tonight and a couple of races to try and do better tomorrow."
GRT Yamaha Supported WorldSBK - P8 - Championship P9 - 161 Points
"We've had different conditions for every session this weekend and even the race wasn't so easy, as there were still damp patches on track at the start. It was a difficult race for me. I was with Leon Camier for most of the race and, while sometimes I felt a bit faster than him, the only time I was able to try a pass I ended up running wide. We still have the same issues and I feel more of a passenger on the bike rather than the rider, but we will try again tomorrow to do better."
GRT Yamaha Supported WorldSBK - P10 - Championship P10 - 122 Points
"With only a few laps in the dry and this being my first time here with the Superbike, we weren't really sure of the direction to take with the set up for the race. I'm happy enough with the result today, given the difficulties we've faced so far this weekend with the weather conditions. I'd have preferred not to have lost a place on the last lap, but tenth in the race today is a reasonable start. Now I know the track a little better, and we have a clearer idea of what we need in terms of set up for the dry, so we will look to improve in tomorrow's two races."
Ten Kate Yamaha Supported WorldSBK - P4 - Championship P13 - 100 Points
"I was too close to the podium to be happy with today's result! A few months ago, I wouldn't have believed I'd be disappointed to finish fourth here at Magny-Cours, as it's my best result at this track for a long time. It was a great race. In the beginning it was really tricky with the track and, as we have no experience with the YZF-R1 here at Magny-Cours, we only changed the set up a little bit after FP3 and it wasn't perfect. It made the bike quite difficult to ride, especially in one sector where I lost the rear so many times. When Tom Sykes passed me, I tried everything to stay with him, to try something on the last lap, but then I nearly high-sided out of the 180 degree and wasn't close enough. It's a shame, but it's still a fourth place and all the team are happy - maybe more than me - so we will try again for the podium tomorrow."
World Superbike at Magny-Cours: Álvaro Bautista finishes Race 1 in fifth place after a great run through the field from row 5, while Chaz Davies crashes on lap 4 after running up at the front in the early stages
For the Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team, the first race in the French Round at the Magny-Cours circuit - and race number 800 in the history of the Superbike World Championship - concluded with a good fifth place for Álvaro Bautista and an unexpected DNF for Chaz Davies in the early laps.
Starting from row 5 in fourteenth place on the grid, the Spanish rider tried to build up his confidence in the dry conditions before beginning a great fightback through the field to finish in fifth place.
Team-mate Chaz Davies on the other hand went on the attack from the fourth row, immediately passing a number of his rivals and taking the lead of the race. Unfortunately, when he was fighting for second place, a glitch while entering into Turn 15 led to unintentional contact with Razgatlioglu, causing Chaz to crash and putting an end to his race, luckily without consequences.
Tomorrow the ten-lap Superpole Race will be held at 11.00 CET, with the 21-lap Race 2 starting at 14.00.
Álvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing Ducati #19) – 5th
“Fifth place was not a bad result for sure because there were a lot of difficult situations to manage during the race and because it was basically my first ever exit on this track in these conditions. I started far back on row 5 and seeing as the track in some places was still wet, I tried to get the references and then went faster and faster. I’m happy with fifth place because I learnt the track but I’m not happy because I lost more points. We’ll see if we can go faster tomorrow now I have more experience on this track.”
Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati #7) - DNF
“My race was good while it lasted seeing as I was fighting for the lead, it’s just unfortunate that it didn’t last very long! In the early laps certain parts of the track were still a bit damp and everyone was slightly conservative, maybe letting the conditions improve before going on the attack, so I decided to push hard. The Panigale V4 R was seemingly working well from a set-up point of view, but as we hadn’t lapped in the dry in the previous sessions unfortunately we couldn’t work fully on the electronics settings and this caused a wrong calibration in Turn 15, which led to contact and my crash. I just did all I could to try and avoid Toprak and ended up by hitting him. I’m really frustrated to go out of the race like that, not only for the result but also for the information we could have learnt for tomorrow. Anyway, that’s racing.”
Camier makes a strong return to racing with a positive seventh place finish in Race1 in France
Leon Camier made a convincing return to action, both in terms of result and pace, on the first race day of the Pirelli French round.
After qualifying in tenth place at the end of a wet Superpole session, Leon scored a positive seventh place finish in Race 1, in dry conditions, the best result of the year so far for him and the team.
For teammate Ryuichi Kiyonari, the day had a more disappointing outcome, especially after qualifying in which he closed in ninth place, the fastest Honda rider. Ryuichi was not able to replicate that performance in the subsequent race and was forced to settle for eighteenth place.
Leon Camier 2
“I’m happy enough with today. I pushed as hard as I could and did as much as I could, even though I was struggling in some areas, especially at the end. My shoulder was fine, it was more my hands and arms, having not used them for a long time. By the end of the race, mainly in the changes of direction, I was hanging on by my fingertips and it was challenging, because you need good control in that area. There were also some damp patches on the asphalt. Anyway, I managed not to make any big mistakes and we scored a result that’s not too bad. I feel like the bike has improved in a couple of areas and the handling was also better. This was another of the day’s positives.”
Ryuichi Kiyonari 23
“I’m very disappointed with today’s race result because the weekend had started well already yesterday, and things went even better in qualifying this morning. I like this track and so I was hoping for quite a different result. Instead I struggled with rear grip at the beginning of the race and although I improved my pace lap after lap, I honestly wasn’t quick enough in adapting to the changing conditions. An experience we will try and utilize in order to do better tomorrow.”
TOP TEN CONQUERED IN DRY CONDITIONS!
We know the meteorological uncertainty of this region of France, and today it has been confirmed! Teams and riders have been put to the test in any condition, wet, dry and ... half and half!
During the FP 3 the protagonists of the WorldSBK were able to ride with the slick tyres for the first time this weekend. Eugene tried to complete as many laps as possible, in order to gather all the useful information for both the Superpole and the race.
He concludes in P 9, with a good feeling with the Ducati Panigale V4-R.
Free Practices 3: P 9 1.40.022 +1.245
While all the teams were adjusting the last changes in view of the Superpole ... here in a moment the sky becomes cloud and the rain begins to fall, sometimes even very strong, so as to delay pit lane open.
Compulsory choice of Rain tyres, the riders went to the track once again forced to have to dose the throttle.
Laverty immediately proves to be fast in these conditions, he remains for the most part in the very first positions, then concludes eighth. A good starting place on the grid for race 1 and for the Superpole Race; being in the first 3 rows is always important to keep in touch with the first ones without taking too many risks!
Superpole: P 8 1.55.460 + 1.505
Before the start of the race the gray clouds give way to some timid ray of sunshine; the track dries quickly and on the grid the race direction declares "dry race", so slick for everyone!
Eugene also bet on the SCX, a tyre created by Pirelli for the Superpole Race, softer than the others available.
The bikes still don't have the best set-ups, and the riders are called to ride over the problems .... a battle in true Superbike style, where the difference is made by those who throw their hearts beyond the obstacle.
Eugenio encounters some difficulties in the first laps, he feels the Panigale by Go Eleven very heavy in the turns. From the middle of the race the talent of the Irish rider comes out; the laptimes are noticeably lower and it is even one of the fastest riders on track, despite the drop of the soft tyre. He recovers the gap from Cortese and passes him on the last lap, gaining a good ninth position. The technicians are already at work to solve the difficulties encountered with a full tank and tomorrow, in the Warm Up the Team will test some improvements.
We saw one of the most fought manches of this season; riders at the limit, bikes that moved and slipped, aggressive brakings ... great fun for the public at home!
P 9 E. Laverty + 32.091
For the WorldSSP 300 it was a day of mixed emotions; on one side the debut, the first time on a dry track in the race, on the other side the not qualifying for the Main Race on Sunday. The riders clashed with bad weather, which once again altered the values on track. Stefano Raineri remained outside qualification for only five positions in Superpole. In the Last Chance race he fought hard against the other contenders, demonstrating his talent and tenacity. Unfortunately, two laps from the conquered flag, a technical problem with the gear lever forced him to retire. Pity for the bitter end, but the Go Eleven Team thanks him for this debut weekend, with the conviction that he will have other world chances!
Eugene Laverty (WorldSBK Rider):
"We were really strong in the wet Superpole but unfortunately I slipped back to 8th position on the grid in the final minutes. The track dried in time for the race so we lined up with slick tyres. I really struggled during the first half of the race but as the fuel load decreased I was able to lap faster and set my fastest lap with just a few laps remaining. I passed Cortese for 9th position on the final lap and this was the maximum we could do today. We will try to improve the balance of the bike for tomorrow to allow me to push during the early laps of the race.”
Stefano Raineri (WorldSSP 300 Rider):
"My World Superbike debut went fairly well!
In FP 3 I did the fourth time of my group, but I crashed on the fifth lap, making up a bad bruise on my left leg. In Superpole I was at mid-standings, I was fine in mixed conditions; then when I stopped, I realized that I was out of the top 30 (qualified for Sunday's race) for a few tenths!
The only regret of this week end is that of not having finished the race due to a technical problem: I was ninth and I was trying to recover to enter the Top Six!
Thanks in any case to the Go Eleven Team and the MES organizers for giving me this opportunity!"
Delbianco inside the points zone in SBK Race 1 in France
Magny Cours (France), Saturday 28 September 2019
Alessandro Delbianco and the Althea MIE Racing team have completed the first of three Superbike races playing out at the Magny Cours circuit in France this weekend.
After the morning’s third and final practice, the first session to take place in the dry, the team prepared for Superpole, which played out on a fully wet track. Delbianco went out immediately to take full advantage of the limited time available. Placing among the fastest riders early on in the session, the Italian started to lower his lap times. Having identified a good wet setting together with his team during yesterday’s practices, the Althea rider demonstrated a good level of confidence on the slippery track. His best time, a 1’56.327, positioned him twelfth at the session’s end.
The first Superbike race began at 2pm local time on an almost dry track. Delbianco got away from the fourth row and positioned thirteenth by the end of lap one. Dropping two places on lap four, the Italian oscillated between fifteenth and seventeenth throughout the race, eventually crossing the line in fifteenth position and scoring one championship point in the process.
“It's only a pity that we couldn’t race in the wet, considering how we were doing in yesterday’s practices and the Superpole. Anyway, that’s how it went, we scored a point, put a few guys behind us and gained more experience in the dry that we will do our best to use in preparation for tomorrow’s races.”
WorldSSP: Smith unstoppable in Tissot Superpole at Magny-Cours
First British polesitter in WorldSSP since Cal Crutchlow in 2009 with title rivals together on row two
After showing a preview of his potential on Friday afternoon, Kyle Smith (Team Pedercini Racing) proved to be in a class of his own in the wet, claiming his first ever pole position in WorldSSP. The championship battle looks set to play out from the second row after a fascinating Tissot Superpole session at Magny-Cours.
With conditions still wet following rain earlier this morning, the opportunity was presented for Kyle Smith who showed such strong pace in the wet yesterday. The Briton set an astonishing early benchmark, opening up a lead approaching two seconds over Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing). For Smith though, his progress was halted by a fall at the Adelaide hairpin halfway through the session.
Mahias wouldn’t be threatening top spot though as the 2017 champion came unstuck at exactly the same corner as Smith, losing the rear end of his Kawasaki exiting turn five. With the lap times constantly improving, the Frenchman was soon relegated from the front row by Jules Cluzel (GMT94 YAMAHA) and Ayrton Badovini (Team Pedercini Racing), although the Italian rider saw his session ended early by a crash at Estoril corner.
In the end, Smith was able to re-join the action after his early fall and quickly showed that the mishap hadn’t dented his confidence. As the chequered flag waved, Smith improved still further to open up a 0.810s advantage over Jules Cluzel who will go in search of a second consecutive home victory as he bids to keep his slim title hopes alive. Despite his late fall, Ayrton Badovini held on for his first front row start since Magny-Cours 2016.
The championship challengers went head-to-head in the dying seconds with Federico Caricasulo (BARDAHL Evan Bros. WorldSSP Team) securing a narrow advantage over his team-mate Randy Krummenacher, despite missing out on the front row for the first time this season. Caricasulo will line up fourth, just ahead of Lucas Mahias with Krummenacher rounding out the second row in sixth.
The Kawasaki-Yamaha pattern continues onto the third row with Hikari Okubo (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) in seventh, who maintains his 100% record of qualifying inside the top nine this year. Friday pacesetter Corentin Perolari (GMT94 YAMAHA) will start eighth for his home round ahead of Isaac Vinales (Kallio Racing) while Peter Sebestyen (CIA Landlord Insurance Honda) ensured that Honda were represented inside the top ten.
Elsewhere, Guilaume Pot (Team MHP Racing-Patrick Pons) suffered a crash at Estoril corner, causing him to miss out on the 107% cut-off time, while Thomas Gradinger (Kallio Racing) was the last rider inside the target time in 21st as he makes his return to WorldSSP from injury.
Pole position - Kyle Smith (Team Pedercini Racing)
"Qualifying is normally not my forte, and I usually prefer the race. But then the rain has come, and it became a little bit easier for me. I struggle a lot more in the dry, but we have been working hard on the bike all season, and it seems that we have found a bit of direction. The rain helped us today, and I managed to be on the front row on pole position. Now let's see what will happen for the race tomorrow".
Front Row for Home Hero Cluzel at Magny-Cours
GMT94 Yamaha Supported WorldSSP rider, Jules Cluzel, will challenge for his third win of the season from the front row of the grid in tomorrow's WorldSSP race, having qualified in second place during a wet Superpole session today.
Cluzel was the only rider within a second of pole sitter Kyle Smith in what were tricky conditions, on a track where grip is notoriously unpredictable in the wet. Bardahl Evan Bros. Yamaha Supported WorldSSP rider, Federico Caricasulo qualified in fourth position, while his teammate and championship leader, Randy Krummenacher, will join the Italian on the second row after qualifying in sixth place.
Just 10 points separates the two Bardahl Yamaha riders at the top of the championship standings and neither of the pair were prepared to throw caution to the wind and risk everything for a fast time in the tricky conditions today. Both are confident that, should the race be run in the dry as forecast, then they have the pace to continue their battle for the title at the front of the race.
GMT94 Yamaha's Corentin Perolari will start tomorrow from the middle of the third row after qualifying in a creditable eighth place today, while Kallio Racing Yamaha Supported WorldSSP rider, Isaac Viñales, will also start from row three in ninth position.
It proved a difficult qualifying session for the Kallio Racing Yamaha pairing of Thomas Gradinger and Loris Cresson, with the Austrian just managing to qualify inside the 107% cut off 21st place, while the Belgian was just outside but will be allowed to race tomorrow from 22nd position on the grid.
Fifth And Seventh For Mahias And Okubo
Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) finished today’s wet Superpole qualifying session at his home round as fifth fastest rider while Hikari Okubo (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) earned seventh place on the grid. Kyle Smith (Team Pedercini Racing Kawasaki) took his first ever pole position in WorldSSP today.
After an opening day that was sometimes wet and sometimes dry, and then with the unexpected arrival of rain today also, it was not the most straightforward of pre-race preparations for either Kawasaki Puccetti Racing rider in France.
Mahias had a sometimes dramatic Saturday, colliding with a slower rider and then falling at slow speed during Superpole, after fitting a new rear tyre that was not sufficiently warm.
Lucas was uninjured and now looks forward to his home race on Sunday, in what all hope will be better, drier, conditions than Magny Cours offered up today.
Once again Okubo was unfortunate to just miss a second row start and he will now launch from the best place on the third row of the grid – seventh - for Sunday’s 19-lap WorldSSP race.
Weather conditions for Sunday may not be certain quite yet but the expectation is for a dry race, which will be the final WorldSSP contest of the European season before two final ‘flyway’ races in Argentina and Qatar.
Lucas Mahias stated: “Today was not perfect and the first day was also a little difficult - sometimes raining, sometimes dry. It was not so easy this morning but the feeling on the bike is good in dry conditions. I finished second and I was really happy, even though I lost my fastest lap because of a slow rider in front of me. But the feeling from the bike was good. For Superpole I felt strong on the bike in the rain until I stopped in the middle of the session to change a tyre. It proved not to be a good choice because it was cold and I crashed in a slow corner. I was a little bit angry for this decision but it was OK in the end because I will start the race in fifth position. I am looking to have a good result.”
Hikari Okubo, stated: “It was such a difficult Superpole today because after the morning session the rain came back, a lot of rain, and the track feeling was very slippery. Yesterday was much better in these conditions. I tried to push hard but my bike feeling was that I was sliding too much from the rear. I rode with safety so I would not crash, which was important. Finally I was in seventh position which does not make me happy, because yesterday in the rain I was in second place. It is OK because I look to the race with positivity and if all goes well I can get a podium; I hope so.”
Kyle Smith (Team Pedercini Racing Kawasaki) took his first ever pole position start in WorldSSP, setting an early best time, then sliding off at one point before finally restarting to set an even faster lap time.
Ayrton Badovini (Team Pedercini Racing Kawasaki) was also a potent force in Superpole qualifying, finishing up third fastest, and putting two Kawasakis on the front row.
Glenn van Straalen (EAB Racing Team Kawasaki) placed 11th in Superpole and Rob Hartog (Team Hartog – Against Cancer Kawasaki) 15th.
Nacho Calero (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) was 19th. Gaetan Matern (Flembbo Leader Team Kawasaki) fractured his left humerus in a fall on Friday and was ruled out of any further action this weekend.
FINAL EUROPEAN ROUND OF THE FIM SUPERSPORT WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP: KRUMMENACHER QUALIFIES ON THE SECOND ROW
Magny Cours (France) 28 September 2019
The final European round of the FIM Supersport world championship is taking place at the French circuit of Magny Cours. On day one of practice, both sessions were characterised by heavy rain. Randy Krummenacher, in agreement with his team, made only a few laps, choosing not to take any unnecessary risks in the very unstable weather conditions. Today, the Swiss rider, competing for the Bardahl Evan Bros. team, was back on track for the final free practice, in which he set the sixth fastest time. Heavy rain made a reappearance later in the morning, meaning that the Superpole session was delayed, finally getting underway at 12pm local time. Despite the rain having stopped, the asphalt was wet and Randy Krummenacher was again careful not to exaggerate and take risks, settling for the sixth fastest time which gives him a second row start for tomorrow’s Supersport race, scheduled to take place tomorrow, 29 September at 12.15pm local time.
Randy Krummenacher is calm and confident, the second row allowing him to fight for a strong result and continue to chase the dream of the world title.
#RK21: “We’ve had two strange days, the rain affecting both of yesterday’s practices and then a wet Tissot Superpole today. I decided not to push too hard or take any excessive risks, particularly because tomorrow’s race is expected to take place in the dry. I’m feeling positive, the second row will allow me to fight for the positions that count, and I’ll be doing my best to secure a good result. We’re now at the sharp end of the season and after Magny Cours we’ll be in Argentina and then Qatar for the final round over the weekend of 24-26 October. I continue to chase my life-long dream and will do everything possible to achieve it, well aware that I have the full support and professionalism of my team.”
Top ten for Sebestyen in wet Magny-Cours qualifying
Posted on 28th September 2019
Despite the dismal conditions at the unpredictable Magny-Cours circuit, CIA Landlord Insurance Honda rider Peter Sebestyen enjoyed his best Tissot Superpole qualifying since Jerez in June with his time of 2’00.621 set on the last lap of the wet session. Sebestyen qualified in tenth position and heads up the fourth row of the grid for tomorrow’s 19-lap World Supersport race.
Sebestyen said: “I’m happy with the position but I think I could a much better lap. I tried to push but not in the right corners so I missed that a little bit. We made a step in the rain but we can see that the lap times are still not very fast so we need to improve more, maybe now we understand more data. If it is raining tomorrow I don’t know anywhere else we can make another step forward but all in all I’m happy.”
Frenchman, Jules Danilo was only four tenths of a second down on his teammate in twelfth position and completes the fourth row of the grid for the race in front of his home crowd tomorrow.
Danilo said: “Twelfth will do for tomorrow, I can still do a good race from there but obviously I’m not really happy with my feeling in the wet. I was having so many moments at the start on the gas, it got a bit better at the end but it didn’t help me to get into the rhythm. This morning we had our first full dry session and we managed to get some info from that, I think tomorrow morning will be important as well. Let’s see what tyre we choose and just go for everything and try to do a good home race.”
CIA Landlord Insurance Honda Team Manager Simon Buckmaster said: “Peter just missed the third row by a tenth of a second so he did a good job. I think if it’s a wet race we are in good shape with both riders to achieve our best result this year. If it is a dry race we need to be stronger than we were in FP3 this morning. Warm up will be crucial we need to really push and make a good dry session to put ourselves in a position, wet or dry, to achieve another season best here. The possibility is there to do it, now it is up to us as a team working well to go out there and do our best.”
WorldSSP300: Deroue on WorldSSP300 pole ahead of Carrasco
Championship underdogs to start at the front with five nationalities inside the top six in Tissot Superpole
Early rain and a drying track changed the complexion of Tissot Superpole in the WorldSSP300 class. With the championship potentially up for grabs at the Pirelli French Round, Scott Deroue (Kawasaki MOTOPORT) took a much-needed pole position ahead of Ana Carrasco (Kawasaki Provec WorldSSP300) with points leader Manuel Gonzalez (Kawasaki ParkinGO Team) set for a tough battle tomorrow from the fifth row.
Group A have arguably enjoyed the best of the conditions so far this weekend, with the riders involved benefiting from some dry track time in FP3, something that couldn’t be said for those in Group B. However, with conditions steadily improving during Tissot Superpole, running later looked to be beneficial.
Ana Carrasco showed her pace, and experience, on a damp track surface in Group A to lead the way early on. The reigning champion was knocked off the top by Filippo Rovelli (Kawasaki ParkinGO Team) four minutes from the end but Carrasco responded to finish fastest in her group, eight tenths clear of Galang Hendra Pratama (Semakin Di Depan Biblion Motoxracing).
It quickly became clear that conditions were much more favourable in Group B with Mika Perez (Carl Cox- RT Motorsports by SKM - Kawasaki) beating Carrasco’s earlier benchmark on just his third timed lap. Unfortunately for the 2018 championship runner-up, a crash at turn 9 ended his session three minutes early and with times tumbling so rapidly, Perez only just held onto an automatic starting spot in 30th overall.
In the end, Scott Deroue proved too strong for his rivals in Group B, holding off a late challenge from Andy Verdoia (BCD Yamaha MS Racing) to claim his first pole position since Magny Cours last year, giving the best possible chance of extending the WorldSSP300 title race to the final round in Qatar.
With the lap times in Group B proving over 1% faster than Group A, the grid will be determined by alternating the fastest riders in each group. As a result, Deroue will have Ana Carrasco starting alongside in second with Andy Verdoia completing the front row. Galang Hendra Pratama (Semakin Di Depan Biblion Motoxracing) starts fourth ahead of Jeffrey Buis who ensured two Dutch riders will start inside the top five tomorrow. After finishing third in Group A, Filippo Rovelli will line up sixth on the grid.
Much of the focus in Group B was on Manuel Gonzalez, especially once it became clear that a top 15 place was needed to secure automatic qualification for tomorrow’s race. With less than a minute remaining, the championship leader languished down in 13th, leaving him dangerously close to the lottery of the Last Chance Race, but a last gasp improvement saw him climb to eighth, enough for 15th on the grid.
Pole Position - Scott Deroue (Kawasaki MOTOPORT)
"Yesterday we did a good performance with the wet, but today was different. I usually like when there are these mixed conditions as in the past I had to ride a lot with wet tyres on dry asphalt, so I am quite used to it. During the final minutes, we were all very close out on the track, but in the final one, I pushed hard I was able to make the pole. I am pleased with this!"