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Superpole ‘Spills’ Hits Voltcom Crescent Suzuki

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Team Suzuki Press Office – October 3.

Blue skies and sunshine gave way to the first wet qualifying of the year for Voltcom Crescent Suzuki’s Alex Lowes and Randy de Puniet as the heavens opened at the Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours this afternoon.

Saturday’s two free practice sessions began by enjoying similar conditions to the previous 24-hours, as Lowes continued hunting the top-six. His lap-times consistent as he worked through his 38 laps, the British racer was confident of his Yoshimura-powered GSX-R heading into the Superpole qualifying. The curse of the Magny-Cours weather, however, had other ideas, with heavy rain engulfing the circuit just minutes before qualifying commenced. Lowes struggled to find a rhythm with his Suzuki’s wet-settings, succumbing to the conditions at the sweeping ‘Estoril Turn Three’ – his 2’02.227 lap-time placing him 11th in the times and sitting on row four for Sunday’s contests.

De Puniet also fell-foul of the rain-soaked circuit, crashing at the same corner as his team-mate on his third lap of the opening Superpole session. His previous lap-time of 2’06.621 left the French racer ninth in the session and places his Suzuki GSX-R1000 19th on the grid for his two 21-lap home races tomorrow.

The dedicated spectators remaining through the downpour witnessed Aprilia’s Leon Haslam snatch the Pole Position with a 1’56.404, despite also taking a tumble in the session’s dying minutes, as Superpole claimed six crashes and two trips through the gravel during its 30 minutes of track time.

Hoping for a brighter forecast, Voltcom Crescent Suzuki returns to Magny-Cours at 08:40hrs local time (07:40BST) tomorrow for warm-up ahead of the day’s two races at 10:30 and 13:10 (09:30 and 12:10BST) respectively.

Alex Lowes:

“I’ve not got much to say as it was my worst qualifying of the season. I will start 11th on the grid for tomorrow so I’ve not made it easy for myself. Hopefully the conditions will be better for the races and we can put in a good fight. We’ve had a good weekend so far, so this is disappointing but as always we will be back doing our best and hope to enjoy the races tomorrow.”

Randy de Puniet:

“Today is the worst weather I have ridden in for a long time, there was no grip and the track was so slippery. I crashed at turn three but I don’t really know why. I didn’t have a good feeling with the bike from the start of the session and my lap times were slow; Alex crashed as well, so it was a session to forget. I am hoping for better weather for tomorrow, to make some adjustments during warm-up and to enjoy two consistent races and score some good points for my home round.”

Magny-Cours– eni FIM Superbike World Championship – Superpole: 1. Leon Haslam (Aprilia) 1’56.404: 2. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki) +0.004: 3. Niccolo Canepa (Ducati) +0.508: 4. Chaz Davies (Ducati) +0.645: 5. Sylvain Guintoli (Honda) +1.435. 11. Alex Lowes (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki) +5.823: 19: Randy de Puniet (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki) SP1.