Sylvain Guintoli believes he and his Yoshimura Suzuki team are already in fine race trim ahead of Sunday's prestigious Suzuka 8 Hour event, after a more-than-promising showing on Friday.

The Yoshimura Suzuki entry placed second, behind reigning champions Yamaha Factory Racing in Friday's provisional qualifying sessions, earning them a place in the Superpole shootout on Saturday.

And while Guintoli was just over half a second slower than team-mate Takuya Tsuda, the Frenchman was delighted to lap the demanding, sinewy Suzuka layout in 2m 7.523s.

With the provisional grid decided by the average of each entry's three riders' best times, the Suzuki outfit was just over 0.4s off the pace of the Yamaha, and ahead of HRC's factory-backed entry.

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Along with expressing joy at his quickest lap time of the day, which clocked in at six tenths of a second faster than Yoshimura's third rider Josh Brookes, Guintoli was more than content with the S-GSX-R 1000 L7's pace in race trim.

"It's been another great day today and I'm really enjoying my time here at Suzuka," said Guintoli, who has enjoyed outings in both the British Superbike Championship and the MotoGP series this season for Suzuki.

"The bike is working well and I managed to get into the 2m 07s today. We're second overall and that's very positive for tomorrow's Superpole session and I'm really looking forward to that.

"We're pretty much ready for the race now and we've all done long runs so for us it's all about getting that quick lap time in Superpole tomorrow!"

Yoshimura Suzuki's entry was a full second faster than the next best team running a trick GSX-R 1000, with Team Kagayama ending the day in seventh place.

Meanwhile, photos emerged on Friday evening of a massive save for Australian Brookes, who so nearly came a cropper when his knee touched the grass on the inside of a bend.

By Neil Morrison

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