2014 Jerez World Superbike Saturday Roundup: Expect Overtaking

The rulebook was brought out for an engine too many in World Supersport and a qualifying record was broken by the entire front row in World Superbike.

Loris Baz set a pole position that even his estranged Kawasaki teammate Tom Sykes couldn't beat. The first sector of his fast lap was not as quick as he felt he could have gone as he wasn't sure of the grip, but as the lap went on, he got quicker, until he put in the fastest time of the session in the fourth and last sector, a sector that, like the second sector suited the Aprilias and Baz.

Davide Giugliano is on a Ducati that looks like the summer break improved. His front-row performance, sandwiched by Kawasakis, will put him in good stead for the races tomorrow, but it doesn't look like this will be the weekend that the Panigale gets its first elusive victory, especially if Chaz Davies in seventh position can't get a good start through the front two rows.

On the second row, Marco Melandri was hampered by Sylvain Barrier crashing in front of him, and his qualifying throughout the weekend has been consistently quick. Sylvain Guintoli is fighting for the title, unlike Melandri, but it isn't a certainty that Melandri will help him fight for the title. Jerez isn't a difficult track to overtake at, and with the Aprilias and Kawasakis, and to be honest the other bikes too, all having areas of the track they are better at, as long as nobody is given a free gift of a breakaway, the battle for the podium could well be undecided until the end.

Eugene Laverty in sixth place could also be taking part in the podium fight, and, unlike his teammate Alex Lowes, Laverty is confident in the grip at higher temperatures. If he doesn't do well in the cooler morning, he could still be in with a shout in the warmer second race. Lowes, ninth on there grid, was the second crasher in Superpole 2.

The Hondas had new engine parts for this weekend, but Jonathan Rea wasn't able to exploit them as well as Leon Haslam who sat in eight place, and he sat a second off the pace in tenth. Rea will likely race with the older engine spec, as he knows how that works. Morning warmup will show if this is the right move.

In World Supersport, Kenan Sofuoglu will be released from pit lane ten seconds after the lights go out. Changing teams meant his engine allocation was used up, and he therefore gets a penalty. With Jules Cluzel in tenth place, it's up to Florian Marino in fourth place, promoted to the front row thanks to Sofuoglu's engine infraction, to hold off pole-sitter Michael van der Mark and stop him from taking the title on Sunday.

This is an unlikely prospect, but we should be rewarded with Kenan Sofuoglu carving through the pack in his aggressive style as he tries to earn a podium place from the pit lane, an all together possible prospect.

Jerez's easy overtaking should reward us with close racing in both series, and maybe a new champion will be crowned.

Round Number: 
10
2014
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