“We have worked hard on the race set-up here” – Tom Sykes
The 5th Tissot-Superpole of the season got underway today at Donington Park under an unusual British sunshine and home fans were not surprised to see Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) scoring his 15th career pole position.
Thanks to his 4th consecutive top slot on the grid, the Huddersfield-born rider equals Colin Edwards at sixth all-time for Superpole wins, one off fellow English Neil Hodgson. The works Kawasaki rider bettered three times the previous Best Lap of the Leicester circuit, up to an unbeatable 1’27.378.
Tom Sykes: “We have worked hard on the race set-up here not just in qualifying. There are a number of factors why I can do well in Superpole but I have always enjoyed riding by myself on the best package we have. Combine that with the ‘time-trial’ element of Superpole and I just race myself and the tarmac. The refreshing thing is that the Ninja ZX-10R is working well over race distance and now when we start at the top. We should have a fairly consistent package for tomorrow’s races. That is the most important thing.”
An irony of fate for 2nd place Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia Racing Team), who matched exactly the previous record set last year by Sykes (1’27.716) to secure a front row start along with team mate Eugene Laverty.
Eugene Laverty: “I’m really happy to be here on the front row because around this circuit there are at least five fast riders with a similar race pace. So it’s very important to start from the front row, especially since the characteristics of this track make overtaking quite difficult. I’m also happy to keep up my row 1 streak. It’s a great sign of consistency and it is a good indicator of the shape of both my RSV4 and myself.”
After coming close to an early elimination in Superpole 2, Jonathan Rea (Pata Honda World Superbike) progressed to an outstanding 4th place, a great result for the Ulsterman on the track that saw him winning the latest WSBK race held on the Leicester circuit.
Encouraging performance for Leon Camier (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) who was 5th at the chequered flag to precede works BMW riders Marco Melandri and Chaz Davies, Davide Giugliano (Althea Racing Aprilia) and Niccolò Canepa. The One Event rider, current Championship leader in the FIM Superstock 1000 Cup, was the only one entry of the Team Ducati Alstare to qualify for Superpole 3, finishing 9th.
Spaniard Carlos Checa ended his charge to the front rows in Superpole 2 and will start from 10th place on the grid, while Ayrton Badovini was 14th behind local man Leon Haslam (Pata Honda World Superbike), who was cleared to ride just before Free Practice 1 on Friday morning.
Tissot-Superpole times: 1. Sykes (Kawasaki) 1’27.378 average 165.749 kph; 2. Guintoli (Aprilia) 1’27.716; 3. Laverty (Aprilia) 1’28.014; 4. Rea (Honda) 1’28.139; 5. Camier (Suzuki) 1’28.252; 6. Melandri (BMW) 1’28.280; 7. Davies (BMW) 1’28.644; 8. Giugliano (Aprilia) 1’28.779; 9. Canepa (Ducati) 1’29.318; 10. Checa (Ducati); 11. Cluzel (Suzuki); 12. Baz (Kawasaki); 13. Haslam (Honda); 14. Badovini (Ducati); 15. Fabrizio (Aprilia).
World Supersport – Lowes the pole-sitter for tomorrow’s race
Sam Lowes (Yakhnich Motorsport Yamaha) keeps his outstanding momentum up by scoring his 9th career pole position, the third in a row for the current World Supersport Championship leader. The local rider rode to an amazing new Best Lap for Donington Park in 1’30.276, improving by 0.6 seconds the time set in this morning’s Free Practice 2.
The Brit decided to get back on track again towards the end of the session after Kenan Sofuoglu (Mahi Racing Team India Kawasaki) closed the gap to the front by lapping under the 1’31 seconds, to further improve his already competitive time.
The Turkish rider will start from 2nd place on the grid ahead of One Event rider and current British Supersport Champion Glen Richards (Smiths Triumph Team), who had a spectacular collision in the closing stages with rookie Alex Schacht (Racing Team Toth Honda) with both riders able to walk away uninjured. Encouraging 4th for Frenchman Florian Marino (Intermoto Ponyexpres Kawasaki), substitute for injured David Salom, who kept himself with the front runners after a really positive performance in the previous round.
Following his maiden World Supersport podium at Monza, Lorenzo Zanetti (Pata Honda World Supersport) will move off from the 5th grid slot in tomorrow’s race, flanked by Jack Kennedy (Rivamoto Honda), Christian Iddon (ParkinGo MV Agusta Corse) and Sheridan Morais (PTR Honda).
Times: 1. Lowes (Yamaha) 1’30.276 average 160.428 kph; 2. Sofuoglu (Kawasaki) 1’30.733; 3. Richards (Triumph) 1’31.100; 4. Marino (Kawasaki) 1’31.339; 5. Zanetti (Honda) 1’31.361; 6. Kennedy (Honda) 1’31.382; 7. Iddon (MV Agusta) 1’31.410; 8. Morais (Honda) 1’31.448; 9. Ivanov (Kawasaki) 1’31.600; 10. Foret (Kawasaki) 1’31.602; etc.