World Superbike championship leader Sylvain Guintoli struggled on the opening day of his teams home race at Imola, finishing the first qualifying session in seventh position.
|Guintoli was off the pace in Imola
Photo: Aprilia Racing
Despite having dry weather conditions, Guintoli’s set-up of his Aprilia used in Portimao wouldn’t adapt to the Italian track, hindering the Frenchman on the opening day. He finished in fifth position in FP1 this morning, only 0.171 behind Sykes in fastest. However, the 31 year old struggled to keep up the pace in the first qualifying session of the weekend and only finished in seventh position setting a time of 1.14.878. However, there was only a gap of 0.660 between Guintoli and fastest man Sykes.
Guintoli, who has a 28 point lead in the championship standings revealed “In the two sessions today we worked a lot to try and find new solutions. It looks like we’ll have to use a completely different setup than the one we used in Portimão because Imola is a very particular track, where being precise and managing the power of the RSV4 becomes fundamental. The weather helped us since it didn’t rain and we have a lot of tests scheduled for tomorrow so we’ll be ready for the races on Sunday”.
Eugene Laverty similarly struggled at the Italian track, however it wasn’t set-up that hindered his pace it was traffic on the track, which he encountered on three laps in a row on a fresh tyre.
The Irishman seemed to be off the pace in the first session of the weekend finishing in 12th position, 1.125s off Sykes’ fastest time. This afternoon’s session bought similarly frustrating conditions for Laverty, who was caught up in traffic on the 4.963m circuit, and the times on paper don’t neccecarily portray his pace at his teams home track.
The Aprilia Racing team rider revealed “Today certainly wasn’t a fantastic day for us. When I went out with a new tyre I ran into traffic three laps in a row, so fortunately what we see on paper today from the qualifiers is not our limit. I’m not disappointed, but a bit frustrated. I still need to shave a bit more off my times to be at the same level as Sykes and Rea who were quite fast today. I don’t want to be dramatic about it, but we’ll have a lot of work to do tomorrow”.