Sebastien Gimbert has put his wildcard Yamaha R1 on pole for the final round of the World Superbike championship at Magny Cour on Sunday, October 3.
Gimbert shares the front row with the two main title contenders, Fila Ducatis James Toseland and Regis Laconi. Fourth quickest was Steve Martin. Gimbert waited until the last few minutes of the session to move up from second with a best lap of 1:42.599, 0.26 ahead of Toseland.
And the Foggy Petronas team will be happy with Troy Corser in fifth and Chris Walker in sixth. Championship outside Chris Vermulen finished the qualifying session in seventh. Leon Haslam is 11th.
1) Gimbert 2) Toseland. 3) Laconi. 4) Martin. 5) Corser. 6) Walker. 7) Vermuelen 8) Clementi. 9) Borciani. 10) Chili. 11) Haslam. 12) Haga.
James Toseland has taken the 2004 World Superbike title with a second place in the final race at Magny Cours.
Toseland had to settle for second behind a hard-charging Noryuki Haga on the Renegade Ducati, but it was enough to secure the title. Team-mate Regis Laconi needed to win to stop Toseland securing the title but he failed to mount any serious attack on the leading pair.
Race Two: 1) Haga. 2) Toseland. 3) Laconi. 4) Gimbert. 5) Chili. 6) Haslam. 7) Corser. 8) Walker. 9) McCoy. 10) Nowland. 11) Duterne. 12) Fuertes. 13) Szkopek. 14) Praia. 15) Camlek. 16) Myszkowski.
Final championship standings: 1) Toseland 336, 2) Laconi 327, 3) Haga 299, 4) Vermeulen 282, 5) Chili 243, 6) McCoy 199, 7) Martin 181, 8) Haslam 169, 9) Corser 146, 10) Borciani 130, 11) Walker 128
Toseland had made his job easier by winning race one,ahead of Haga and Laconi. The British rider was able to pass pole-sitter Troy Corser to take the lead on the first lap and rode a perfect race to hold the lead to the chequered flag. Toseland was now leading the championship by five points, and team-mate and title rival Regis Laconi needed to win the next race to take the title.
Third title challenger Chris Vermuelen was forced to retire by mechanical failure, but it was Noriyuki Haga who played the biggest role in race one, coming through time and again to pass Laconi and challenge Toseland.
Race one: 1) Toseland. 2) Haga. 3) Laconi. 4) Gimbert. 5) Martin. 6) Chili. 7) Haslam. 8) Walker. 9) McCoy. 10) Duterne. 11) Bontempi. 12) Pedercini. 13) Cruciani. 14) Velini. 15) Szkopek. 16) Nowland. 17) Camlek. 18) Praia. 19) Berthelsen.
Earlier in the day, Lorenzo Alfonsi took the Superstock championship with a win at the French track. The Supersport title had already been decided at the last round at Imola.
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Watch the racing:
British Eurosport: Sunday, October 3: from 10am. Repeated at 5.15pm and noon on Monday
BBC 2: Sunday, October 3: World Superbike special at 11.30pm.
Superpole: 1) Corser. 1:41.547. 2) Vermuelen 1:41.845. 3) Toseland 1:41.856. 4) Gimbert 1:41.946. 5) Laconi 1:41.969. 6) Chili 1:41.977. 7) Martin 1:42.242. 8) Haga 1:42.358. 9) Haslam 1:42.705. 10) Walker 1:42.718. 11) Borciani 1:43.236. 12) Pedercini 1:43.330 13) Clementi 1:43.662. 14) Bontempi 1:44.133. 15) McCoy 1:44.673. 16) Bussei.
Sebastien Gimbert has gone fastest again in the second qualifying session for the final round of the World Superbike championship at Magny Cours on Sunday.
The Frenchman posted a time of 1:41.753 in the second session, and was the only man to drop under the 1 minute 42 second mark. Pierfrancesco Chili was second fastest with 1:42.190, and Steve Martin was third with 1:42.240.
Top placed championship contender is Regis Laconi, who posted the fifth fastest time, two places ahead of title outsider Chris Vermulen, it wasn't a good morning for James Toseland, hwoever, who only managed ninth place with 1:42.541, leaving a big improvement needed in the Superpole timing for the top 16 riders.
Also in Superpole will be Chris Walker, Noriyuki Haga and Leon Haslam.
1) Gimbert 1:42.599. 2) Chili 1:42.190. 3) Martin 1:42.240. 4) Corser 1:42.244. 5) laconi 1:42.310. 6) Borciani 1:42.452. 7) Vermuelen 1:42.522. 8) Walker 1:42.529. 10) McCoy 1:42.930. 11) Haga 1:43.062. 12) Haslam 1:43.127. 13) Pedercini 1:43.187. 14) Bontempi 1:43.196. 15) Clementi 1:43.235. 16) Bussei 1:43.516.
Friday free practice:
Regis Laconi took an early advantage in the first practice session for the WSB championship decider at Magny Cour on Sunday, October 3.
Laconi went fastest in Friday morning practice, ahead of Ducati team-mate and championship rival James Toseland by just under half a second.
Third-placed title rival Chris Vermuelen was ninth quickest with 1:44.174. Wildcard Sebastien Gimbert was third on the Yamaha R1, but did not join the factory Ducatis under the 1:43 mark. Outside the top ten, Leon Haslam managed 11th quickest and Gary McCoy was 13th.
1) Laconi 1:42.554. 2) Toseland 1:42.981. 3) Gimbert 1:43.051. 4) Martin 1:43.085. 5) Corser 1:43.182. 6) Chili 1:43.649. 7) Haga 1:43.673. 8) Walker 1:43.674. 9) Clementi 1:43.827. 10) Vermeulen 1:44.174.
Toseland started the final WSB weekend of the year four points behind home-favourite and Ducati factory team-mate Regis Laconi. Chris Vermeulen was third in the title fight.
He said: "There's nothing in it. "I'm pleased with the way I dug deep at Imola and showed the spirit to fight for the championship. Everybody wants the title, there's going to be a lot of pressure on Regis in France, but the Ducati Fila team has been awesome all through the year and deserve to win this championship, whether it's me or him.
"We tested at Magny-Cours two weeks ago and did really well so I'm confident that we can be strong and work well all over the weekend. I had pole there last year so I know I can go fast. If we can get it right Friday morning, which we have been doing recently, then I'm confident that we'll be on top come Sunday. For me second isn't an option."
Championship standings with final round to go:
1. Laconi (295), 2. Toseland (291), 3. Vermeulen (282), 4. Haga (254).