Australian Superstock 600 rider Oscar McIntyre, 17, was killed in a crash early in the support race, leading to Superpole initially being postponed by an hour before being cancelled altogether. A statement on the World Superbikes website read: “Infront Motor Sports and the entire SBK paddock offer their condolences to the McIntyre family and all those affected by his loss.” The cancellation of the session meant the times from qualifying session two were used to determine the Superbikes grid, with British Kawasaki rider Tom Sykes’ mark of one minute 31.323 seconds earning him pole position.
Aprilia’s Max Biaggi recorded a course-record top speed of 323.7km/h but could only qualify second, 0.154secs behind Sykes, with reigning series champion Carlos Checa third in 1:31.621 on his Althea Ducati. Liberty Racing Team Effenbert’s Jakub Smrz and Sylvain Guintoli occupy the next two places, also on Ducatis, with Britons Leon Camier and Jonathan Rea joining the latter on the second row either side of Red Devils Roma’s Niccolo Canepa.
Rea missed out on 10 minutes of action after his bike was damaged in a crash, while last year’s Supersport champion Chaz Davies was deprived of his Superbikes debut, and a 15th-placed start, after breaking his wrist in another accident. Eugene Laverty and Leon Haslam, both riding with injuries, will start 11th and 12th in Sunday’s race.