Tom Sykes claimed his first Superpole victory in nearly three months after narrowly beating Sylvain Guintoli on Saturday afternoon at Istanbul Park. The Briton pipped his championship rival by two hundredths of a second with Davide Giugliano taking the final place on the front row.
Sykes’ decisive lap came at the very beginning of SP3 despite being followed by SBK newcomer Toni Elias but Guintoli had another qualifying tyre available to him and threatened the Kawasaki’s 1:54.872 in the dying seconds. Despite a stunning final sector, the Frenchman fell fractionally short but he did leapfrog Giugliano into second while his teammate Eugene Laverty also made a step forward late on, climbing to fourth ahead of Toni Elias and Jules Cluzel. The big loser in the title battle was Marco Melandri although his excellent MotoGP record in Turkey could see him come through tomorrow. BMW teammate Chaz Davies starts alongside on the third row in eighth with Leon Haslam ninth out of nine in SP3.
Mark Aitchison rounded out the top ten after falling out in SP2 with the second Pedercini Kawasaki of Federico Sandi qualifying just behind in eleventh ahead of Jonathan Rea’s replacement at PATA Honda, Michel Fabrizio. Melandri was the big name in danger during SP1 but a late flyer hauled him out of trouble, ensuring that local wildcards Tolga Uprak and Yunus Ercelik would both fall at the first hurdle along with Vittorio Iannuzzo who hit technical problems with his Grillini BMW.
The weekend has been severely blighted by injuries after a disastrous first practice session on Friday morning. With grip levels low, Carlos Checa suffered a highside at turn two, sustaining a suspected fracture to his left scaphoid, while his teammate Ayrton Badovini injured his left ankle in a fall at turn twelve. Leon Camier fractured his right foot in seven places with a crash of his own while Max Neukirchner broke his right hand in an accident.
The injuries carried over from the Nurburgring have kept Loris Baz on the injured list and with the exception of Badovini, all other injured riders will join Baz on the sidelines tomorrow.
|2013 eni Superbike World Championship – Round 11: Istanbul|
|1||Tom Sykes||Kawasaki||Kawasaki Racing Team||1:54.872|
|2||Sylvain Guintoli||Aprilia||Aprilia Racing Team||1:54.894|
|3||Davide Giugliano||Aprilia||Althea Racing||1:55.073|
|4||Eugene Laverty||Aprilia||Aprilia Racing Team||1:55.340|
|5||Toni Elias||Aprilia||Red Devils Roma||1:55.546|
|6||Jules Cluzel||Suzuki||FIXI Crescent Suzuki||1:55.614|
|7||Marco Melandri||BMW||BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK||1:56.402|
|8||Chaz Davies||BMW||BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK||1:56.416|
|9||Leon Haslam||Honda||PATA Honda World Superbike||1:56.463|
|Eliminated In SP2|
|10||Mark Aitchison||Kawasaki||Pedercini Team||1:57.001|
|11||Federico Sandi||Kawasaki||Pedercini Team||1:57.329|
|12||Michel Fabrizio||Honda||PATA Honda World Superbike||1:57.371|
|Eliminated In SP1|
|13||Tolga Uprak||Kawasaki||CMS-Eypbike Racing Team||2:02.469|
|14||Yunus Ercelik||BMW||Sampiyon 169 Team||2:04.070|
|15||Vittorio Iannuzzo||BMW||Grillini Dentalmatic SBK||2:39.610|
|Failed To Qualify For Superpole|
|16||Ayrton Badovini||Ducati||Team Ducati Alstare||No Time|
|Leon Camier||Suzuki||FIXI Crescent Suzuki||Injured|
|Carlos Checa||Ducati||Team Ducati Alstare||Injured|
|Loris Baz||Kawasaki||Kawasaki Racing Team||Injured|