Magny-Cours WSBK: Laverty leads BMW 1-2 in qualifying
Former MotoGP rider Eugene Laverty led a shock 1-2 result for BMW in a wet qualifying session for the French round of the World Superbike championship at Magny-Cours.
Kawasaki riders led much of the 25-minute Superpole session on Saturday, although it was newcomer Alex Lowes rather than points leader Jonathan Rea who held the top spot with a time of 1m50.288s.
Rea, who failed to set a time in FP3 this morning after crashing on his out lap at Turn 7, then broke the 1m50s barrier on his next flyer, which Lowes failed to match.
Those two times remained unbeaten until the final five minutes of qualifying, when Friday pacesetter Garrett Gerloff fired in a lap of 1m49.357s to snatch the top spot from Rea.
BMW riders then rose to the fore, with Laverty first to go on top with a 1m49.122s, before teammate Tom Sykes lowered the benchmark further with a 1m49.060s.
However, there was more to come from the BMW duo in the dying minutes of Superpole, with Laverty setting the fastest time of the weekend - a 1m48.644s - on his last flyer.
Sykes also improved to 1m48.786s to make it a 1-2 for BMW, which is yet to win a race in the 2020 season.
Rea was forced to abandon his first timed lap on his final run and although he improved on his last lap, he still fell short of Laverty’s effort by 0.182s.
Lowes was the only other rider to break into the 1m48s bracket, missing out on a front row slot by just 0.049s as he qualified fourth.
Gerloff finished as the top independent rider in fifth on the GRT Yamaha, outqualifying the factory R1 of Michael van der Mark by a massive four tenths of a second.
Go Eleven Ducati rider Michael Ruben Rinaldi finished behind van der Mark in seventh, but ahead of fellow independent rider Loris Baz on the Ten Kate Yamaha.
The factory Ducatis of Chaz Davies and Scott Redding completed the top 10, with Davies outqualifying his teammate by just 0.025s.
Honda didn’t have the pace to fight for a top 10 in wet conditions that have prevailed in all four track sessions so far, with Leon Haslam qualifying 1.6s off the pace in 11th and Alvaro Bautista finishing down in 17th, 2.9s down on Laverty’s chart-topping time.
Toprak Razgatlioglu also endured a difficult session aboard the factory Yamaha, finishing seven places behind his teammate van der Mark in 13th.
Michael van der Mark
Michael Ruben Rinaldi
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Magny-Cours WSBK: Gerloff outpaces Rea in wet Friday practice
Magny-Cours WSBK: Rea wins, BMWs wiped out at start
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