Frenchman Sylvain Guintoli has produced the best ever world superbike lap of the Phillip Island circuit in qualifying this afternoon for tomorrow’s round one of the 2014 Superbike World Championship.

The Aprilia-mounted Guintoli produced his scorching 1min30.038sec lap with five minutes to go in the 15-minute Superpole session, with Italy’s Davide Guigliano (1:30.135) also eclipsing Carlos Checa’s previous best lap of 1:30.234, set in 2013.

Sylvain Guintoli set best ever world superbike lap at Phillip Island to score pole
Sylvain Guintoli set best ever world superbike lap at Phillip Island to score pole

“I am happy to be on the bike and back on the pace,” said Guintoli. “The off-season was a nightmare with my injured shoulder, but I now feel good and am back in shape.

“It ‘s a shame to be so close to the 29-second mark around Phillip Island, but we’ll now have to leave that for next year.

“It’s no secret that this place, this circuit is one of my favourites.”

Guintoli — a race winner at Phillip Island in 2013 — and Guigliano will be joined on the front row of the grid by Marco Melandri (Aprilia, 1:30.332) in tomorrow’s two 22-lap races, while the second row will comprise Eugene Laverty (Suzuki , 1:30.385), practice pacesetter Alex Lowes (Suzuki, 1:30.421) and Honda’s Jonathan Rea (1:30.660).

Next in line will be Kawasaki pair Loris Baz (1:30.796) and world champion Tom Sykes (1:30.797), to be joined by Honda’s Leon Haslam (1:31.138).

Sykes was on a hot lap with just a few minutes to go when he crashed at Lukey Heights – certainly not the first rider to come unstuck at turn nine this weekend. He was unhurt and will be ready to begin his title defence tomorrow.

Listen here for this interview with Sylvain Guintoli:

[jwplayer mediaid=”39781″]

Top Evo rider Niccolo Canepa (Ducati, 1:31.274), Chaz Davies (Ducati, 1:31.281) and David Salom (Kawasaki Evo, 1:31.950) will start from row four.

After a crash in final practice, Australia’s Glenn Allerton (BMW) didn’t make it out into Superpole and will start from 19th on the grid, and his compatriot Matt Walters (Kawasaki) will kickstart his world championship debut from 21st.

The world superbike races will be held at midday and 2:40pm respectively.

Superbike Superpole 2

Results: 1. Guintoli (Aprilia) 1’30.038 average 177.725 kph; 2. Giugliano (Ducati) 1’30.135; 3. Melandri (Aprilia) 1’30.332; 4. Laverty (Suzuki) 1’30.385; 5. Lowes (Suzuki) 1’30.421; 6. Rea (Honda) 1’30.660; 7. Baz (Kawasaki) 1’30.796; 8. Sykes (Kawasaki) 1’30.835; 9. Haslam (Honda) 1’31.138; 10. Canepa (Ducati) 1’31.274; 11. Davies (Ducati) 1’31.281; 12. Salom (Kawasaki) 1’31.950; 13. Elias (Aprilia) 1’32.107; 14. Corti (MV Agusta) 1’32.187; 15. Foret (Kawasaki) 1’32.248; 16. Andreozzi (Kawasaki) 1’32.902; 17. Guarnoni (Kawasaki) 1’33.146; 18. Morais (Kawasaki) 1’33.404; 19. Allerton (BMW) 1’33.605; 20. Toth (BMW) 1’34.137; 21. Walters (Kawasaki) 1’34.453; 22. May (EBR) 1’34.640; 23. Yates (EBR) 1’35.521; NC. Sebestyen (BMW) 1’37.274.

Live timing