Late season flourish continues for Lanzi
At one of his favourite circuits Lorenzo Lanzi (DFX Corse Ducati) headed up the first qualifying session in France, with a 1'38.856 lap set in dry conditions. Lanzi is a former winner at this circuit, and was a podium man last time out in Imola.
In a session where the top 16 riders were within 0.710 seconds of each other, Michel Fabrizio (Ducati Xerox) was second quickest, new champion Max Biaggi (Aprilia Alitalia) third, and Luca Scassa (Supersonic Ducati) was another fast privateer on good form - like Lanzi - setting a 1'39 flat to go fourth on the overnight grid. The provisional front row was filled by four Italian riders on four Italian machines, in what was an intense day of practice and qualifying all round.
Behind the leading four, double Silverstone winner Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha Sterilgarda) was fast once again, multiple Magny-Cours winner Noriyuki Haga (Ducati Xerox) was sixth, with the official BMW Motorrad Motorsport machine of Troy Corser seventh. Carlos Checa (Althea Racing Ducati) was a firm eighth, looking for more wins as he attempts to take third place in the final rankings.
After two good rounds in Germany and Italy, Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) looks set to make it three in a row, going ninth today in first qualifying, one place ahead of Leon Haslam (Suzuki Alstare).
Jakub Smrz (Pata B&G Aprilia) headed up James Toseland (Yamaha Sterilgarda). Toseland was one of four fallers in the session, alongside Crutchlow, Haga and Hayden. On Saturday one more qualifying period and then the Superpole sessions remain to determine the final grid positions at the last round of the 2010 season.
Katsuaki Fujiwara (Provec Motocard.com Kawasaki) was fastest rider in the WSS first qualifying session, starting a finishing well to keep points' leader Kenan Sofuoglu (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) behind him in a tight contest. Local star man Fabien Foret (Lorenzini by Leoni Kawasaki) was a confident third fastest, ParkinGO BE-1 Triumph rider David Salom fourth after a fast late charge. Championship challenger Eugene Laverty (Parkalgar Honda) started the weekend fifth fastest. Gino Rea (Intermoto Czech Honda) was sixth and Imola race winner Michele Pirro (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda), seventh.
The impetus of a home race took Sylvain Barrier (Garnier Junior Team BMW) to the lead in the first Superstock qualifying sector, in a session ended a minute early due to a red flag being shown. David Giugliano (Team06 Suzuki) was second, Maxime Berger, from the Ten Kate Race Junior Honda Team, was third and fourth came early leader
Ayrton Badovini (BMW Motorrad Italy Superstock) fell and had to pit with much of the session left to run.
Jeremy Guarnoni (MRS Racing Yamaha) dipped under the 1'45 barrier at Magny-Cours to take provisional pole, his 1'44.979 second lap enough to keep another French rider Stephane Egea (Team ASPI Yamaha) second. Davide Fanelli (All Service System by QDP Honda) was a close third. Romain Lanusse (MRS Racing Yamaha) completed the Friday top four, with three French riders in the top few places. Berardino Lombardi (Martini Corse Yamaha) and Josh Elliot (Kawasaki Racedays Kawasaki) were top six runners also.