SYLVAIN GUINTOLI JUST MISSES POLE POSITION AND AN EXCELLENT FOURTH PLACE JUST BEHIND THE FRONT ROW FOR MELANDRI.
Assen (Holland), 26 April 2014 – The Assen Superpole further established Aprilia’s consistent improvement on the track during the Saturday sessions. Both Sylvain Guintoli and Marco Melandri gained confidence lap by lap without losing sight of the primary objective which was finding the best way to manage performance in view of the races. A lot of work and a strategy that paid off at the end of the day: Sylvain Guintoli took the second spot on the grid after an extraordinary lap on a race tyre and after missing out on the opportunity to improve his time on a qualifier as rain began to fall.
Marco Melandri, who came through Superpole 1 without any issues, also rode his RSV4 to the second row, just shy (22 thousandths of a second) from the front. The rider from Ravenna is also encouraged by his overall feeling which is steadily growing. And there is still some room for improvement that he will be trying to exploit with his mechanics.
The Superpole 2 session in which the top 12 qualified riders participate, had Sylvain Guintoli starting off on a race tyre to put his first time on the board, intending to mount a qualifier later to make a play for the pole. The intermediate times the Frenchman posted quickly raised the adrenaline level in the Aprilia garage: with record performance, spoiled only at the end of the lap when he was forced to overtake, Sylvain started his second try with pole position in his sights. This sensation was confirmed throughout the first half of his lap on a Superpole tyre until a few drops of rain convinced him not to take any unnecessary risks, in any case earning the second spot on the starting grid.
Sylvain Guintoli: “We made a lot of progress today, session after session, and Superpole was confirmation of that. I was fast and had a good feeling straight away. All of this is encouraging for me in view of the races tomorrow. It’s always a shame to lose pole position when you know you could have taken it, but starting from the front row is an excellent result, especially on a track like this one. We have also taken a big step forward in terms of race pace and tomorrow, weather permitting, we will definitely be in the mix.”
Marco Melandri’s garage also put in an excellent performance, reassured by a superbly executed Superpole. The performance put in by the rider from Ravenna, which earned him the first spot on the second row, brought him just 22 thousandths behind third place. This starting position is encouraging given the confidence Marco has developed during today’s sessions. But the Italian rider will be looking for further improvements and his work in preparation for the races tomorrow will focus on this objective.
Marco Melandri: “The second row is an excellent start point in any conditions. We have gotten a lot better in the dry. The guys have worked hard and my feeling on the RSV4 increased lap after lap. If it’s a wet race the deck will be shuffled but being up front for the start will help me in terms of visibility. I’m quite pleased. We can still make some changes that will help us make up some ground, especially regarding consistency throughout the entire race. It will be difficult and I’ll be in the thick of it.”
ASSEN – SUPERPOLE
1. Baz (Kawasaki) 1’34.357
2. Guintoli (Aprilia) 1’34.845
3. Sykes (Kawasaki) 1’35.311
4. Melandri (Aprilia) 1’35.333
5. Rea (Honda) 1’35.361
6. Giugliano (Ducati) 1’35.476
7. Canepa (Ducati) 1’35.500
8. Laverty (Suzuki) 1’35.646
9. Lowes (Suzuki) 1’35.684
10. Elias (Aprilia) 1’36.203