2020 WorldSBK Magny-Cours - Superpole Qualifying Results

Eugene Laverty will head up a BMW 1-2 on the grid for the penultimate round of the 2020 WorldSBK Championship after prevailing in a tense damp-but-drying Superpole session at Magny-Cours.

The Irishman, who hasn’t started higher than tenth on the factory BMW S 1000 RR all season, punched in the laps on a long run to make the most of the improving conditions right at the end to fire in a 1m 48.644secs lap, enough to repel the advances of his rivals.

A remarkable upturn in fortunes for both himself and BMW - a month on from the confirmation he will be replaced in the team by Michael van der Mark for 2021 - the result marks his first WorldSBK pole position since Jerez in 2012.

With top end performance - known as an area of weakness for the BMW package - not a concern as riders contended with slippery conditions, Tom Sykes emphasised the S 1000 RR’s handling strengths to give BMW a famous 1-2 start for both Race 1 and tomorrow’s Superpole Race.

After a crash in FP3 this morning, Jonathan Rea collected himself to snatch third at the death, the Ulsterman hampering himself somewhat by running off at the penultimate corner of his wind-up lap to compromise him at the start of his quickest effort.

Nonetheless, the champion-elect was still good enough for third, comfortably up on title rival Scott Redding, who could only manage 10th.

Alex Lowes heads up the second row from the impressive Garrett Gerloff, who sporadically topped the timesheets at times but found himself shuffled down to what remains his best starting spot of his rookie WorldSBK season.

Michael van der Mark completes the second row on the factory Yamaha, ahead of top Ducati rider once again Michael Ruben Rinaldi, while Loris Baz - quickest in FP3 - could only make do with eighth.

Chaz Davies and team-mate Redding get underway from ninth and tenth respectively, while Leon Haslam led a muted Honda charge in 11th, well up on Alvaro Bautista who - having been no higher than 18th in practice - could only progress to 17th position.

Similarly, Toprak Razgatlioglu found himself floundering in the tricky conditions in 13th, behind Federico Caricasulo on the second on the GRT Yamahas.