Guintoli on world superbike pole

French Aprilia pilot Sylvain Guintoli has claimed pole for Sunday's opening round of the world superbike championship.

Frenchman Sylvain Guintoli has produced the fastest-ever superbike qualifying round of the Phillip Island circuit to claim pole for Sunday's opening round of the world championship.

The Aprilia-mounted Guintoli produced his scorching effort of one minute 30.038 seconds with five minutes to go in Saturday's 15-minute Superpole session.

Italian Ducati pilot Davide Guigliano (1:30.135) also eclipsed Carlos Checa's previous best lap of 1:30.234, set in 2013.

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"I am happy to be on the bike and back on the pace," said Guintoli.

"The off-season was a nightmare with my injured shoulder, but I now feel good and am back in shape.

"It's a shame to be so close to the 29-second mark around Phillip Island, but we'll now have to leave that for next year.

"It's no secret that this place, this circuit is one of my favourites."

Guintoli - a race winner at Phillip Island in 2013 - and Guigliano will be joined on the front row of the grid by Marco Melandri (Aprilia, 1:30.332) in Sunday's two 22-lap races.

The second row will comprise Eugene Laverty (Suzuki, 1:30.385), practice pacesetter Alex Lowes (Suzuki, 1:30.421) and Honda's Jonathan Rea (1:30.660).

Next in line will be Kawasaki pair Loris Baz (1:30.796) and world champion Tom Sykes (1:30.797), to be joined by Honda's Leon Haslam (1:31.138).

Sykes was on a hot lap with just a few minutes to go when he crashed at Lukey Heights.

After a crash in final practice, Australia's Glenn Allerton (BMW) didn't make it out into Superpole and will start from 19th on the grid.

Compatriot Matt Walters (Kawasaki) will kickstart his world championship debut from 21st.

The two races will begin at 1200 and 1440 (AEDT).


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Published 22 February 2014 at 4:59pm
Source: AAP