SBK Assen: Sykes A Second Clear In Superpole

Tom Sykes - Photo Credit: Kawasaki
Tom Sykes - Photo Credit: Kawasaki


Tom Sykes kept up his unbeaten qualifying record in 2012 after dominating a rain-affected Superpole session at Assen. The Briton provided some welcome good news for the Kawasaki Racing Team after Joan Lascorz's recent injury by beating the entire field by more than a second.

Due to pre-session rain, the format for Superpole was different to normal. The “wet Superpole” saw two 20 minute sessions with the slowest eight riders eliminated in SP1, and the remaining eight battling for pole in SP2. Max Biaggi didn't play any part in proceedings after being caught out by the rain on Saturday morning. The Aprilia rider was 17th in Friday qualifying and with the rain preventing any dry running in the second session, those times stood and Biaggi missed out on a top 16 place.

Wet patches remained on the circuit as SP1 began and Jonathan Rea seemed happiest, setting the pace on his Honda. The drizzle returned briefly with seven minutes remaining, catching out Eugene Laverty, and it appeared that the drop zone places were decided but Chaz Davies was still setting personal best sectors, alerting everybody else that there were still grid positions up for grabs.

Leon Haslam, Carlos Checa and Sylvain Guintoli all moved above Rea in the dying seconds while John Hopkins knocked Marco Melandri out of the top eight with the final lap of the session. David Salom had briefly crept into the top eight but he also lost out, falling to tenth, while Chaz Davies and Leon Camier were 11th and 12th, the latter having suffered a big accident in final practice.

Brett McCormick heads up the fourth row ahead of Laverty who dropped to 14th after his fall. Maxime Berger and Ayrton Badovini also crashed out of SP1 after taking each other out at turn one before conditions improved.

The circuit was virtually dry for SP2 and Sykes took full advantage. The Yorkshireman set a 1:35.399 which was 1.033s quicker than anybody else could manage. Jonathan Rea got the closest to grab second while Jakub Smrz and Sylvain Guintoli secured the remaining spots on the front row for Effenbert Liberty Ducati.

Carlos Checa will start from the front of the second row, 12 places ahead of his chief title rival, with Michel Fabrizio, Leon Haslam and John Hopkins joining him on the second row for tomorrow's races.