SBK Donington: Sykes Storms Superpole Again

by Louis Suddaby
Tom Sykes - Photo Credit: Kawasaki

Tom Sykes - Photo Credit: Kawasaki


Tom Sykes' exceptional Superpole record in 2012 continued after he topped Saturday's session at Donington Park. The Kawasaki rider claimed his fourth pole out of five with local favourite Leon Haslam completing a British 1-2 on the grid for tomorrow's races.

The warning signs were there in the knockout sessions that Sykes meant business. The Yorkshireman was among the pacesetters despite almost being unseated as he approached the Goddards hairpin. On his first lap of SP3, he delivered on his promise and clocked a 1:27.716, a new lap record and three tenths quicker than previous polesitter Haslam.

The BMW rider went back out for a second attempt in the dying seconds and closed the gap to 0.148s but Sykes held on to pole position while Haslam's lap cemented him in second ahead of teammate Marco Melandri. Sylvain Guintoli looked set to join them on the front row but a last-minute flyer from Max Biaggi demoted him to fifth.

Jonathan Rea was the fastest man in final practice and claimed sixth on the grid for Honda while Leon Camier, flying the flag for Crescent Fixi Suzuki in John Hopkins' absence, qualified seventh ahead of Jakub Smrz on the second Effenbert Liberty Ducati.

Conspicuous by his absence in SP3 was Carlos Checa who could only manage ninth on his Althea Ducati. The reigning champion seemed to be making serene progress through the knockout sessions but slipped into the drop zone in the dying seconds, ironically because of an improvement from Max Biaggi. The GoldBet BMW Motorrad Italia riders joined him in elimination, as did Eugene Laverty.

Chaz Davies made into Superpole but couldn't get any further than 16th while Peter Hickman and Gary Mason, making their SBK debuts for Crescent Fixi Suzuki and Team Pedercini respectively, will start 19th and 23rd.


2012 eni Superbike World Championship

Round 5 – Donington Park (Superpole Result)

Pos Rider Bike Team Lap Time/Gap
1  Tom Sykes Kawasaki Kawasaki Racing Team 1:27.716
2  Leon Haslam BMW BMW Motorrad Motorsport 1:27.864 (+0.148)
3  Marco Melandri BMW BMW Motorrad Motorsport 1:28.177 (+0.461)
4  Max Biaggi Aprilia Aprilia Racing Team 1:28.340 (+0.624)
5  Sylvain Guintoli Ducati Liberty Racing Team Effenbert 1:28.420 (+0.704)
6  Jonathan Rea Honda Honda World Superbike Team 1:28.546 (+0.830)
7  Leon Camier Suzuki Crescent Fixi Suzuki 1:28.551 (+0.835)
8  Jakub Smrz Ducati Liberty Racing Team Effenbert 1:28.785 (+1.069)
9  Carlos Checa Ducati Althea Racing 1:28.497 (SP2)
10  Ayrton Badovini BMW BMW Motorrad Italia GoldBet 1:28.614 (SP2)
11  Michel Fabrizio BMW BMW Motorrad Italia GoldBet 1:28.683 (SP2)
12  Eugene Laverty Aprilia Aprilia Racing Team 1:29.032 (SP2)
13  Davide Giugliano Ducati Althea Racing 1:29.236 (SP1)
14  Niccolo Canepa Ducati Red Devils Roma 1:29.319 (SP1)
15  Maxime Berger Ducati Team Effenbert Liberty Racing 1:29.371 (SP1)
16  Chaz Davies Aprilia ParkinGO MTC Racing 1:29.493 (SP1)
17  Hiroshi Aoyama Honda Honda World Superbike Team 1:30.008 (Q2)
18  Loris Baz Kawasaki Kawasaki Racing Team 1:30.237 (Q2)
19  Peter Hickman Suzuki Crescent Fixi Suzuki 1:30.296 (Q2)
20  Lorenzo Zanetti Ducati PATA Racing 1:30.402 (Q2)
21  Mark Aitchison BMW Grillini Progea Superbike Team 1:31.102 (Q2)
22  Leandro Mercado Kawasaki Team Pedercini 1:31.540 (Q2)
23  Gary Mason Kawasaki Team Pedercini 1:33.103 (Q2)

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