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Sylvain Barrier has sent out a convincing warning signal to his FIM Superstock 1000 Championship rival Eddi La Marra by claiming provisional pole position for the title-deciding final round at Magny-Cours.
Just three points separate the two with one race remaining, but Barrier has already established a 1.2sec buffer over his rival following provisional qualifying, the BMW Italia rider on 'pole', while the Barni Ducati man is fifth.
Between them, Jeremy Guarnoni followed up his countryman in second position, less than a tenth adrift, while Markus Reiterberger and wild-card South African Superbike champion Greg Gildenhuys completed the provisional front row.
Behind La Marra, Matthieu Lussiana made it three Frenchman inside the top ten in sixth place, ahead of Lorenzo Savadori on the second Barni Panigale, Pedercini Kawasaki team-mates Leandro Mercado and Bryan Staring, and BWG Kawasaki's Christoffer Bergman.