Pole position and two Aprilia RSV4 on the front row.
First place for Sylvain Guintoli, third best time for Marco Melandri.
Aprilia Racing turns up at Phillip Island with a performance worthy of its reigning Manufacturer World Champion title.
Phillip Island (Australia), 22 Feb 2014 - Aprilia Racing turned up at the start of the first 2014 SBK race with a performance worthy of the Manufacturer World Champion title earned last season.
Sylvain Guintoli dominated Superpole on the Australian Phillip Island circuit, setting the track record and taking first place on the starting grid and Marco Melandri also rode his silver RSV4 to the front row, earning the third spot.
After the Friday and Saturday morning practice sessions, used to find the best setup and race pace, Sylvain Guintoli took his best shots in the 15 minutes of Superpole, moving into the lead in the second lap with a race tyre (at 1’30.696) and then, after being overtaken by Giugliano and team mate Melandri, he improved even more in his fifth good lap and on a qualifier, stopping the clock with an amazing time of 1’30.038 which broke the record for the magnificent Australian track and gave him the third pole of his career.
Sylvain Guintoli: “This winter was hard. After 4 months without riding a bike and only a little bit of testing I was concerned about my physical conditions. But my Aprilia worked very well and it is no secret that this is one of our favourite tracks. I really had a lot of fun today. It's a shame I couldn't get my time down to 1’29 - that would have been fantastic. The important thing is that we grew and developed throughout the weekend. My shoulder isn't giving me any problems so tomorrow I'll be able to push hard since we've also got an excellent race pace. I expect to have two good races. There are a lot of riders with good pace, but I hope to be able to use my RSV4's power to bring home the win”.
Despite an accident - with no consequences for the rider - which basically cost him all the times from the morning, and despite having spent the next free practice sessions trying to find the setup he lost with the wrecked bike, Marco Melandri rode a Superpole worthy of his name. He even took a provisional lead at one point and in the end he landed a spot on the front row with the third best time (1’30.332). Overall an excellent performance and a nice way to start the races tomorrow.
Marco Melandri: “That was an incredible Superpole. After my crash in the test sessions the guys did an exceptional job fixing my RSV4. I had lost my feeling with it a little bit and before Superpole I admitted to my crew chief that I'd be happy if I made it into the top six. In all actuality I found a good feeling with the race tyre straight away and I put in an excellent lap, but with the qualifier I tried to push but I was struggling too much and went wide in Siberia. I'm happy to be here. Starting from the front will be fundamental tomorrow. I have a good race pace but it will be a battle with at least five other riders”.
1. Guintoli (Aprilia) 1’30.038
2. Giugliano (Ducati) 1’30.135
3. Melandri (Aprilia) 1’30.332
4. Laverty (Suzuki) 1’30.385
5. Lowes (Suzuki) 1’30.421
6. Rea (Honda) 1’30.660
7. Baz (Kawasaki) 1’30.796
8. Sykes (Kawasaki) 1’30.835
9. Haslam (Honda) 1’31.138
10. Canepa (Ducati) 1’31.274