Sylvain Guintoli lays down marker at Sepang World Superbikes meet

The Frenchman was locked in a three-way battle for the quickest time in FP1 with Aprilia team-mate Marco Melandri and Toni Elias (Red Devils Roma Aprilia).

Melandri won the initial contest by topping the timesheets in the opening session, with Elias and Guintoli less than a tenth of a second adrift.

With the session having been red flagged after seven minutes due to a technical problem with the bike of Sheridan Morais, Melandri suffered a problem of his own upon the restart.

However, he recovered and, after the lead changed on several occasions, Melandri came out on top.

The second session belonged to Guintoli, however, as his time of two minutes and 5.096 seconds was better than any lap posted on Friday.

Meanwhile, Melandri could only post the seventh fastest time in FP2, though admittedly it was a congested timesheet, while Elias slipped to fourth.

Reigning champion, and current championship leader, Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) enjoyed a steady opening to the weekend, improving to third in FP2 after coming fourth in the first session.

Ducati’s Davide Giugliano also improved, jumping from fifth to second, while his team-mate Chaz Davies was sixth in both sessions.

Jonathan Rea (PATA Honda), who sits second in the standings, will want to see noticeable improvement after coming seventh and eighth in FP1 and FP2 respectively.

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