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Satellite Aprilia riders Davide Giugliano and Toni Elias have signalled their intentions ahead of qualifying for the final round of the 2013 World Superbike Championship at Jerez by pacing Q2.
The pair have already grabbed headlines this weekend after sharing the spoils in FP1 and Q1 on Friday and would proceed to do so again as they led the way in a frantic Q2 session.
Indeed, with lap times proving notably faster this morning than yesterday afternoon, the timesheets would change consistently until the final seconds when Althea Racing's Giugliano slipped in a lap of 1min 41.371secs. The fastest lap of the weekend thus far, the Italian would emerge three tenths faster than Elias on the Red Devils Roma RSV4.
Though somewhat upstaged by their privateer counterparts, factory Aprilia riders Eugene Laverty and Sylvain Guintoli were still on hand to make it a dominant 1-2-3-4 for the manufacturer. However, as the only riders capable of beating Tom Sykes to the WSBK title this weekend, they will be disappointed to see the Kawasaki rider chasing them hard in fifth position.
Behind them, BMW duo Marco Melandri and Chaz Davies filled sixth and seventh positions, while Lorenzo Lanzi left it late to haul himself out of the drop zone to secure another comfortable top ten time in eighth aboard the Mesaroli Ducati.
Indeed, the fight to reach Superpole would prove exciting as a number of riders experienced spells in the drop zone as the circuit – and the lap times - evolved.
In the end, some surprise names would haul themselves into the top 15, not least Federico Sandi on the Pedercini Kawasaki, the Italian – who has been a regular tail-ender all season – emerging tenth fastest in Q2 to go safe, along with Alstare Ducati riders Xavi Fores and Ayrton Badovini, and Michel Fabrizio.
With just over a tenth covering 14th down to 18th, series returnee Broc Parkes would squeeze through on the little-fancied YART Yamaha, while Mark Aitchison would also make it two Pedercini Kawasakis into Superpole by going 15th.
Their surprise inclusion would mean an unexpected exit for WSBK debutant Sylvain Barrier on the factory BMW, Leon Haslam on the Pata Honda and Jules Cluzel on the Fixi Crescent Suzuki, the trio forced into starting 16th, 17th and 18th respectively.
Joining them at the rear-end of the field for the final round will be Max Neukirchner and Vittorio Iannuzzo in 19th and 20th.