Sylvain Guintoli says he has 'aces up his sleeve' heading into World Superbike qualifying after comfortably out-pacing title rival Tom Sykes during free practice.

Arriving at the 2014 title showdown in Qatar trailing Sykes by 12 points, Guintoli nonetheless sent out a warning signal to the Kawasaki rider by never straying outside the top three in any of the three free practice sessions around the Losail International Circuit, whilst his counterpart struggled to mount a front running challenge.

Nonetheless, though the Frenchman was certainly positive about his chances heading into Superpole, he says there is still work to be done with the Aprilia RSV4 to ensure he gets the most from the bike come race day.

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"This was a very good day for us, but also rather tiring given the weather and the three sessions," he said. "We always do it, but this time in particular we focused a lot on race pace and tyre life which is a critical factor on this track. The results have been very positive but obviously we still have a few aces up our sleeve that we want to test tomorrow.

"We will need to manage the RSV4's power well, unleashing it where it is needed and reining it in where we risk abusing the tyres too much. Skids and drifting are great for the show and for thrills, but not for race pace!"

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Looks to be coming to the boil nicely.
The big question though is how their 'team-mates' behave.
Will Baz follows orders again and pull over? He looks quicker than Skyes does at present.
And Melandri? His talk is all about the 'manufacturers title' so will he aim for two race wins and stiff Guintoli in the process?
Should be fun to watch!