In a spectacular Tissot Superpole of the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship at the Pirelli French Round, a rider broke the absolute record on the French circuit. At the end of the warm session at Magny-Cours, Garrett Gerloff (Bonovo Action BMW) took a phenomenal pole position, the first for an American in 12 years and the first for BMW since 2021.
THE STORY OF SUPERPOLE: At the crucial moment, a driver jumps into the fight
Gerloff and his teammate Loris Baz were the first to enter the track, which was busy from the start. But it was Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) who set a 1’35.970, ahead of Danilo Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing Team), who took a step forward, and Scott Redding (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team). After the first lap, Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) was also provisionally placed on the front row. Álvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati), who lost his first lap due to a yellow flag after Remy Gardner (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) crashed, has moved up to fourth place, while his rival Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) finished eighth.
With five minutes to go, Garrett Gerloff beat Rea’s time by three tenths and set a new record in Magny-Cours with 1:35.453, half a second faster than the others. Rea was his biggest rival, but he was stuck in traffic on one of his fastest laps, as were a number of other drivers. Scott Redding, on the other hand, crashed in Turn 8, while Bautista finished second just ahead of Razgatlioglu.
SENSATIONAL SUPERPOLE: Gerloff, the fastest in Magny-Cours
When the checkered flag came out, Gerloff’s time was unbeatable and he took pole position for the first time in his career, the first American pole in WorldSBK since John Hopkins aboard a Suzuki at Silverstone in 2011. With a good pace all weekend, especially with rising temperatures, the Texan is fighting for the podium. Bautista secured second place and it was his teammate Michael Ruben Rinaldi who managed to get two Ducatis onto the front row.
RAZGATLIOGLU IN P4: Work from the second row
Toprak Razgatlioglu, who leads the second row, has to fight with leader Bautista when braking for the first time, as there is a long straight in the first sector. Jonathan Rea stayed off the front row in the Magny-Cours Superpole for the first time since 2013, while Loris Baz (Bonovo Action BMW) took the second BMW, both independently, into the top six.
THIRD ROW: Locatelli starts seventh, three BMWs in the top ten
Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) has secured seventh place and first place on the third row, while Alex Lowes will start eighth and will be hoping to fight for the podium at a track where he normally performs well can. Danilo Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing Team) was ninth on his return to the French circuit, while Scott Redding recovered from his crash to become the third BMW in the top 10. It is the first time since Brno 2012, although on this day no BMW was in the front row.
BIG NAMES NEED TO IMPROVE: Lecuona, in the fifth row
Philipp Oettl (Team GoEleven) starts from the middle of the fourth row and fights for his future in WorldSBK, ahead of Dominique Aegerter (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) in 12th place. Michael van der Mark (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) starts 13th ahead of the best Honda, Iker Lecuona (Team HRC), in another difficult session for the Japanese factory. Remy Gardner completed the fifth row after a crash.
Xavi Vierge (Team HRC) starts 16th, followed by Bradley Ray (Yamaha Motoxracing WorldSBK Team), Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) and Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing), who start 19th. Lorenzo Baldassarri (GMT94 Yamaha) completed the top 20, while Hannes Soomer (PETRONAS MIE Racing Honda Team), his teammate Hafizh Syahrin, Isaac Viñales (TPR Team Pedercini Racing) and Oliver Konig (Orelac Racing MOVISIO) will close the grid.
UPDATE: Andrea Locatelli, Xavi Vierge, Brad Ray and Lorenzo Baldassarri were penalized three starting positions for Race 1 because they drove too slowly towards the finish line during the session.
WorldSBK Tissot Superpole top 6, full results here:
1. Garrett Gerloff (Bonovo Action BMW) 1’35.453s
2. Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) +0.059 seconds
3. Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) +0.367 seconds
4. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) +0.415 seconds
5. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +0.506 seconds
6. Loris Baz (Bonovo Action BMW) +0.551 seconds
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