Honda WSBK Jonathan Rea will start tomorrow’s final two World Superbike championship races of the 2012 season from the second row of the grid after setting the sixth fastest time in this afternoon’s Superpole at Magny-Cours in France.

The 25-year-old Honda World Superbike Team rider was unable to make best use of a soft race tyre in Superpole one and was forced to use a qualifier to progress to the final two stages of the shoot-out.

British rider Tom Sykes took his ninth pole position of the season in his quest to prevent series leader Max Biaggi securing his second World Superbike title tomorrow. Biaggi struggled today and will start from the third row for tomorrow’s two 22-lappers at the 4.411km Magny-Cours circuit.

Rea’s Honda World Superbike team-mate, Hiroshi Aoyama, was unable to qualify for Superpole on his first visit to Magny-Cours and, with rain forecast for tomorrow, will start from the fifth row of the grid.

Jonathan Rea – P6, 1m38.252s

I’m happy enough with the way the bike is working, even though there are a few areas that we need to brush up on. All in all our race package is OK but in Superpole 1 I wasn’t able to be fast enough on the race tyre. We used our preferred race option instead of what might have been the faster option and we had to use one of our two qualifiers to get through to Superpole 2. It left us in Superpole 3 with no qualifiers, but a second row start is not a big drama. I’m looking forward to the two races tomorrow but the weather forecast isn’t that great. It would be a shame, once again, to do all our weekend work on a dry track if tomorrow’s to be wet. But it’s out of our control and we’ll just do the best we can.

Honda WSBK Hiroshi Aoyama – P18, 1m39.750s

I’m still struggling a bit with movement of the bike – it’s doing it almost everywhere, including on the straight, so it’s making things difficult. We’ll try some things in the morning and we’ll have to hope that they will improve the situation. If it works, it’ll be good and I hope I can make some progress and push some more. I can make a certain lap time but I can’t go beyond that. I want to be able to push tomorrow because they will be my last two races with the team.

Pieter Breddels – technical co-ordinator

Hiroshi didn’t make it into Superpole and tomorrow will be his last races with us. Somehow this year, we weren’t quite able to get him to gel with the bike to get some good results. It’s a shame for him and the team but I hope that in tomorrow’s races he can show his potential and move forward for some top ten finishes. With Jonathan we have proven today that we have a good race pace and rhythm. We struggled a bit with the ultimate lap time and ended up sixth, which is still good. It might rain tomorrow, when things will change again, but we saw in the full wet conditions in Portimao that we can be competitive when it’s like that. Anything can happen and everything is possible.

2012 World Superbike championship – round 14, Magny-Cours, France
Final qualifying results:
1 Tom Sykes (GBR) Kawasaki 1m36.950s
2 Carlos Checa (ESP) Ducati 1m37.422s
3 Eugene Laverty (IRL) Aprilia 1m37.516
4 Marco Melandri (ITA) BMW 1m37.658s
5 Sylvain Guintoli (FRA) Ducati 1m37.901s
6 Jonathan Rea (GBR) Honda World Superbike Team 1m38.252s
18 Hiroshi Aoyama (JPN) Honda World Superbike Team 1m39.750s

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