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Sylvain Guintoli continued to hold sway at the top of the timesheets as a destructive inaugural day of World Superbike competition at the Istanbul Park Circuit came to an end with four riders sat on the sidelines.
A new venue for nearly every rider this weekend, the first WSBK round to be held on Turkish soil is already proving to be something of a notorious event after just 15 riders made it out on track in Q1, with as many as six full-time riders potentially out with injury.
Beyond Jonathan Rea and Loris Baz, who were forced to withdraw owing to injuries sustained at the Nurburgring, Max Neukirchner is confirmed to be out after sustaining a broken hand in accident during FP1, while Leon Camier is in hospital to assess a broken bone in his foot following his own spill in FP1. As yet, he may still be signed off to race.
In addition, neither Alstare Ducati rider – Carlos Checa
and Ayrton Badovini – were on track in Q1 after suffering their own respective accidents in FP1, the former forced to visit the medical centre himself. Like Camier, they may return to circuit on Saturday.
Despite the dramas elsewhere, Guintoli's run to the top spot remained impressive, the title contender – who has only won one race this season – surging ahead in the final ten minutes with a 1min 56.190secs lap.
That would put him a clear six tenths up on second place Marco Melandri, with Eugene Laverty and Tom Sykes giving chase in third and fourth position.
Swift out of the blocks once again, Toni Elias maintained his top five form on his first day of WSBK competition aboard the Red Devils Roma Aprilia, the Spaniard impressively out-performing Jules Cluzel, Chaz Davies and fellow satellite Aprilia rider Davide Giugliano.
Leon Haslam and new PATA Honda team-mate Michel Fabrizio
rounded out the top ten, ahead of Mark Aitchison, Federico Sandi and Vittorio Iannuzzo, the trio arguably benefitting from the smaller than usual field to haul themselves up the order.
Similarly, local wild-cards Tolga Urpak and Yunus Ercelik currently stand to reach Superpole on their first attempts in 14th and 15th despite being seven and eight seconds off the ultimate pace respectively.