Max Neukirchner was frustrated to end up sixth on the grid following Superpole at Magny-Cours after an error on his crucial lap lost him the chance of a front row starting position.
The German entered Superpole with confidence after topping free practice immediately prior to the session, this despite him taking a tumble at the Esses and damaging the Alstare Suzuki.
Nonetheless, Neukirchner was in good form through the first split when he lost control of the bike exiting the Adelaide hairpin. Forcing him out of his seat as the Suzuki wriggled beneath him, Neukirchner got the bike back under control but would lose around seven tenths in the process.
Reigning in some of that time before the end of the lap, Neukirchner would still wind up around a second off pole position but, crucially, seven tenths off the front row.
With that in mind, Neukirchner was disappointed to be sixth on the grid, but is confident he remains well placed to fight for a podium finish at least.
In the afternoon untimed practice I had a little crash but I don't know why. Nothing was different from the laps before, but exiting the Esses I lost the front and crashed. Fortunately there was no problem for me, but it gave my mechanics a lot of extra work!
“I made a small mistake in Superpole, when I had a big slide, and lost between five and seven tenths of a second, so my grid place is not so good. But I think we have a good set-up for the race and as long as I get good starts, I will be able to fight for the podium.
“This morning the track was never completely dry, so we have not had much dry time here. But it is the same for everybody and I will just have to put my head down and go for it.”
Team-mate Yukio Kagayama, meanwhile, endured a similar moment on his Superpole lap, although the error unsettled him to the point that he could only manage 15th on the grid.
“My position is not so good after Superpole, but that is because I had a very big slide exiting the hairpin. I almost crashed, but I stayed on somehow. I lost a lot of time and as I tried to recover I probably pushed too hard and lost my rhythm. I need two good starts tomorrow, if I am to have any chance. But I want to get some good results and I will push very hard in the races tomorrow for sure.”