Tom Sykes - Photo Credit:

Tom Sykes - Photo Credit:


Tom Sykes stormed to his fifth pole position in seven rounds in the 2012 Superbike World Championship as many of his title rivals were caught out by a rapidly drying track. Max Biaggi and Marco Melandri, the two men ahead of Sykes in the standings, both dropped out in SP1 with defending champion Carlos Checa falling at the same hurdle.

A major thunderstorm in the build-up to Superpole caused race direction to declare a wet session for the third time this year, reducing the session to just two parts. Timing would prove crucial as grip levels continued to improve and championship leader Biaggi didn't set a representative time until he final eight minutes.

When he did, he set the fastest time on a 1:39.932 but the pace was getting quicker with every passing moment and before long, he was hovering above the drop zone. The Aprilia rider did get down to a 1:37.686 but was caught out by some outstanding performances from unfamiliar names. Ayrton Badovini, Davide Giugliano and Eugene Laverty all pulled themselves out of danger with seconds remaining to demote Biaggi to tenth.

The only consolation for Max was the misfortune of his rivals as Marco Melandri ended up a subdued thirteenth. Carlos Checa had an even tougher time after his Althea Ducati team appeared to send him out too late to complete a flying lap. As a result, the Spaniard will start both of tomorrow's races in sixteenth place.

The track had fully dried out by the time SP2 got underway and that played beautifully into the hands of Sykes who clocked the fastest time of the weekend, a 1:35.375. The Kawasaki rider set his time in the first five minutes and no matter how hard they tried, none of his competitors could get close to him.

Jonathan Rea was the only other rider to get under the 1:36 barrier, claiming second ahead of the impressive Ayrton Badovini. Davide Giugliano provided some cheer for Althea Ducati with the fourth fastest time, knocking Jakub Smrz off the front row. Leon Haslam will start sixth ahead of Eugene Laverty and Sylvain Guintoli with the Frenchman throwing away his pole chances with a crash at the final corner.


2012 eni Superbike World Championship

Round 7 – Misano (Superpole Result)

Pos Rider Bike Team Lap Time (Gap)
1  Tom Sykes Kawasaki Kawasaki Racing Team 1:35.375
2  Jonathan Rea Honda Honda World Superbike Team 1:35.991 (+0.616)
3  Ayrton Badovini BMW BMW Motorrad Italia GoldBet 1:36.083 (+0.708)
4  Davide Giugliano Ducati Althea Racing 1:36.147 (+0.772)
5  Jakub Smrz Ducati Liberty Racing Team Effenbert 1:36.183 (+0.808)
6  Leon Haslam BMW BMW Motorrad Motorsport 1:36.283 (+0.908)
7  Eugene Laverty Aprilia Aprilia Racing Team 1:36.365 (+0.990)
8  Sylvain Guintoli Ducati Liberty Racing Team Effenbert 1:36.559 (+1.184)
9  Matteo Baiocco (WC) Ducati Barni Racing Team Italia 1:37.509 (SP1)
10  Max Biaggi Aprilia Aprilia Racing Team 1:37.686 (SP1)
11  Loris Baz Kawasaki Kawasaki Racing Team 1:37.704 (SP1)
12  Michel Fabrizio BMW BMW Motorrad Italia GoldBet 1:37.796 (SP1)
13  Marco Melandri BMW BMW Motorrad Motorsport 1:37.806 (SP1)
14  Leon Camier Suzuki Crescent Fixi Suzuki 1:37.985 (SP1)
15  Lorenzo Zanetti Ducati PATA Racing 1:38.078 (SP1)
16  Carlos Checa Ducati Althea Racing 1:38.977 (SP1)
17  Maxime Berger Ducati Team Effenbert Liberty Racing 1:36.934 (Q2)
18  John Hopkins Suzuki Crescent Fixi Suzuki 1:37.168 (Q2)
19  Niccolo Canepa Ducati Red Devils Roma 1:37.202 (Q2)
20  Hiroshi Aoyama Honda Honda World Superbike Team 1:37.250 (Q2)
21  Chaz Davies Aprilia ParkinGO MTC Racing 1:37.312 (Q2)
22  David Salom Kawasaki Team Pedercini 1:37.688 (Q2)
23  Leandro Mercado Kawasaki Team Pedercini 1:38.674 (Q2)
24  Federico Sandi BMW Grillini Progea Superbike Team 1:40.251 (Q1)