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Positive Superpole for Voltcom Crescent Suzuki

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Team Suzuki Press Office – June 20.

A positive day at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli saw Voltcom Crescent Suzuki’s Alex Lowes qualify seventh this afternoon with an invigorated performance at the Italian track.

Energised by recent performance developments, Lowes confidently mastered the Misano circuit with his Yoshimura-powered GSX-R, setting a 1’34.811 on the Pirelli qualifier. The British racer’s best effort was just six-tenths off Kawasaki’s Tom Sykes – who claimed the Superpole with a 1’34.214 – and will see Lowes line-up directly behind the former’s team-mate, and current Championship leader Jonathan Rea, as he heads up the third row.

A disappointing Superpole failed to deliver the results expected by Randy de Puniet. Earlier improvements had seen the Frenchman running strongly on his Suzuki Superbike and he remains confident of a recovered showing during Sunday’s two races.

Buoyed by the successful race simulations completed by Lowes during the early afternoon practice, Voltcom Crescent Suzuki returns to the Rimini track at 08:40hrs local time (07:40BST) tomorrow morning in preparation for the day’s two 21-lap battles taking place at 10:30hrs and 13:10 (09:30 and 12:10BST) respectively.

Alex Lowes:

“I’m actually really happy with seventh today. I feel like I got as much out of the bike as I could, we’re only seventh and you always want to do better but it’s been a good day. We had some problems in the practice this morning but we still managed a decent lap at the end. In FP4 we did a race simulation – it went well, we still have a few things to improve on but the pace was there – and in qualifying we did a good job. No mistakes, I enjoyed riding the bike and it wasn’t too far away but we just need two solid results tomorrow – whatever the result as long as I do my best and don’t make any mistakes I’ll be happy!”

Randy de Puniet:

“I’m disappointed about the qualifying today because in FP4 we improved the GSX-R’s feeling a lot but I had a problem with the brake power so we decided to try a different brake system for the qualifying. Unfortunately I had vibration so I pulled in and only got back out for one lap on the qualifying tyre. The brake was still not perfect on that lap so I’m 19th on the grid which is disappointing because I expected to be close to the top 12. We will see tomorrow but to start 19th will not be easy, I am hoping to have two good races and to score some points.”

Paul Denning – Team Manager:

“Misano wasn’t our best circuit by a long way last year so to qualify seventh and only 0.3 off the Championship leader is a really good result, and shows the hard work of the team and Alex is finally starting to pay off. The GSX-R is working as it should, the Marelli system is working predictably and we are now able to focus on setting up the bike without fundamental problems.

“The race will be tough but Alex did a full race simulation in FP4 in a good rhythm – his last lap of the run was only 0.3 slower than his quickest lap. So whilst we need to be realistic about the races tomorrow I think Alex has the potential to fight with very good quality riders and make a decent result.

“Randy’s made far better progress than the qualifying result today shows. His qualifying time only matched his best time during FP4 on a race tyre and so starting from 19th isn’t ideal. We are hoping Randy can continue the progress made this weekend and achieve two solid results in tomorrow’s races.”

Misano – eni FIM Superbike World Championship – Superpole: 1. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) 1’34.214: 2. Leon Haslam (Aprilia) +0.212: 3. Davide Giugliano (Ducati) +0.228: 4. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki) +0.245: 5. Max Biaggi (Aprilia) +0.249. 7. Alex Lowes (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki) +0.597. 19. Randy der Puniet (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki) SP1.