Weather once again dictated a portion of the weekend’s events, ensuring that nobody would have an easy time of it. Two riders in World Supersport ended their weekend yesterday and only one of them was replaced, while World Superbike had replacements for riders injured weeks ago. Fabrizio Lai was in for Max Neukirchner, Davide Salom kept Loris Baz’s bike warm and eight time endurance world champion Vincent Philippe sat in for Leon Camier. Lorenzo Lanzi even turned up on an old Ducati 1098R, still carrying its extra homologation weight, much like its rider.
Tom Sykes took pole position with a lap that will go down in history as being the lap with a bit of traffic. Riders, in particular Vincent Philippe who was on the racing line mid-corner, were slowing down as the chequered flag was out and white flags were shown around the track. In two corners, Sykes had to weave in and out of three slow riders, while taming a bucking Kawasaki, with insufficient dry time to know the limits of adhesion and he still managed to grab pole position, denying Sylvain Guintoli another Tissot and demonstrating that he doesn’t intend to miss out on the title this year.
Sylvain Guintoli, Davide Giugliano and Eugene Laverty ensured that Aprilia are well positioned to take the manufacturer’s championship, a race they’re leading by 45 points, and if Giugliano, a rider without a seat for next year confirmed, wants to impress the Italian marque, assisting the factory team would not be looked down upon. Guintoli and Laverty, in second and fourth, are well-placed to try to take points off Sykes and Guintoli’s shoulder injury doesn’t seem to have bothered him thus far.
Marco Melandri is missing from the front two rows, nestling in seventh in behind Laverty and next to his teammate Chaz Davies. Melandri is not in a good position to keep his title aspiration hopes alive and the likelihood is that he will stay in fourth place, although that won’t necessarily hurt his chances of getting a new ride next year.
In World Supersport, Kenan Sofuoglu starts in pole position and is best placed for the win as Sam Lowes takes the title even if Sofuoglu wins, as long as he scores just one point.
It’s likely to rain, but everyone is wishing for dry weather; everyone but Ducati.