Intermittent rain and subsequent tyre choices dominated proceedings at Magny Cours for the world superbikes superpole sessions this afternoon, with all riders electing to run on fell wet tyres for the early stages of SP1. With a drying track and little standing water left to clear however, intermediate compound tyres came into play, and with them an dramatic, late reduction in lap times.
With ten minutes remaining in the first session, Leon Haslam - one of the first to switch to the softer tyre - on his Pata Honda lost control of the front end and hobbled back to the pits with a frantic team struggling to recover the bike in time to set a leading lap.
With the Italian, Giugliano - who is still looking for a confirmed ride next season - setting a storming pace on fresh tyres, pressure was placed on Sykes, Laverty and Guintoli to all secure their places for SP2. All three of them managed with aplomb, taking first, second and third fastest times of the session respectively.
Slicks were the order of the session for the beginning of SP2, with all riders keen to get out and on track early, keen to secure solid times before the weather had a chance to change once more. Sykes, Guintoli and Laverty traded times for the opening ten minutes before the supersoft tyres began to make an appearance.
Then, with white flags yet again indicating rain once more - and with Giugliano chasing to split the pack with a solid second place - Sykes unleashed a stunning time, the quickest of the weekend - to secure his eight World Superbike Superpole of the season.
Magny-Cours - FIM Superbike World Championship - Superpole 2 Wet
1. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1'38.592
2. Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia Racing Team) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1'39.397
3. Davide Giugliano (Althea Racing) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1'39.933
4. Eugene Laverty (Aprilia Racing Team) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1'40.410
5. Michel Fabrizio (Pata Honda World Superbike) Honda CBR1000RR 1'40.864
6. Ayrton Badovini (Team Ducati Alstare) Ducati 1199 Panigale 1'40.926
7. Marco Melandri (BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK) BMW S1000 RR 1'41.361
8. Chaz Davies (BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK) BMW S1000 RR 1'41.375
9. Vincent Philippe (Fixi Crescent Suzuki) Suzuki GSX-R1000 1'47.691
10. Michele Pirro (Team Ducati Alstare) Ducati 1199 Panigale 1'47.871
11. Toni Elias (Red Devils Roma) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1'47.886
12. Jules Cluzel (Fixi Crescent Suzuki) Suzuki GSX-R1000 1'48.221
13. David Salom (Kawasaki Racing Team) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1'48.916
14. Lorenzo Lanzi (Mesaroli Transports A.S.) Ducati 1098R 1'50.257
15. Leon Haslam (Pata Honda World Superbike) Honda CBR1000RR 1'51.796
16. Mark Aitchison (Team Pedercini) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1'41.137
17. Federico Sandi (Team Pedercini) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1'41.281
18. Fabrizio Lai (MR-Racing) Ducati 1199 Panigale 1'42.474
19. Vittorio Iannuzzo (Grillini Dentalmatic SBK) BMW S1000 RR 1'43.180