Tom Sykes kept up his hot streak of Superpole victories with his fifth in a row at Portimao although Eugene Laverty couldn’t have run him any closer. The pair were separated by just one thousandth of a second with Sykes marginally the faster of the two, ensuring he will start tomorrow’s races from pole position.
A brief rain shower late in SP1 forced change from the original three-session format, with the second session extended to twenty minutes with the twelve remaining drivers going for pole and Jonathan Rea, quickest in qualifying, set the early pace. Sykes soon overhauled the PATA Honda with a lap four tenths quicker than Rea but he wasn’t as dominant as usual with Laverty just a tenth shy heading into the final sector of his lap. Despite pulling time back on Sykes, Eugene came up short by 0.001s to leave him in the middle of the front row, rather than the head of it.
Sykes isn’t expecting to disappear in the races as he did at Donington Park last time out but remains hopeful of strengthening his championship position.
“I am really happy to have five Superpole wins on the bounce, it is a record for me. I was able to do my time on a dry and sunny track but Eugene Laverty almost beat me to it this time. He was not quite close enough, so it does not matter if it is one thousandth of a second or one second, it went in my favour. I am looking forward to two races tomorrow and I am expecting them to be difficult, but also a good show for the fans. We took a circuit best lap and I was surprised at that because last year I put in a good lap in better conditions. I think it shows that Pirelli have made a good step with the tyres. Conditions today were not as good as last year and yet we went faster. I was not expecting this lap time – but I will certainly take it!”
Marco Melandri leads row two for BMW with championship leader Sylvain Guintoli facing an uphill struggle from fifth, one place ahead of Sykes’ Kawasaki teammate Loris Baz. A fit-again Carlos Checa put the Alstare Ducati seventh on the grid ahead of Jules Cluzel and Michel Fabrizio with Ayrton Badovini tenth on the second Panigale. Davide Giugliano was left to rue a crash early in SP2 which kept him back in eleventh with Chaz Davies the slowest runner in the final session, two seconds off pole.
|2013 eni Superbike World Championship – Round Six: Portimao|
|Wet Superpole Result|
|1||Tom Sykes||Kawasaki||Kawasaki Racing Team||1:41.360|
|2||Eugene Laverty||Aprilia||Aprilia Racing Team||1:41.361|
|3||Jonathan Rea||Honda||PATA Honda World Superbike||1:41.787|
|4||Marco Melandri||BMW||BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK||1:42.115|
|5||Sylvain Guintoli||Aprilia||Aprilia Racing Team||1:42.209|
|6||Loris Baz||Kawasaki||Kawasaki Racing Team||1:43.328|
|7||Carlos Checa||Ducati||Team Ducati Alstare||1:42.405|
|8||Jules Cluzel||Suzuki||FIXI Crescent Suzuki||1:42.645|
|9||Michel Fabrizio||Aprilia||Red Devils Roma||1:43.032|
|10||Ayrton Badovini||Ducati||Team Ducati Alstare||1:43.057|
|11||Davide Giugliano||Aprilia||Althea Racing||1:43.314|
|12||Chaz Davies||BMW||BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK||1:43.463|
|Eliminated In SP1|
|13||Leon Camier||Suzuki||FIXI Crescent Suzuki||1:43.139|
|14||Leon Haslam||Honda||PATA Honda World Superbike||1:43.522|
|Failed To Qualify For Superpole|
|16||Vittorio Iannuzzo||BMW||Grillini Dentalmatic SBK||1:45.208|
|17||Alexander Lundh||Kawasaki||Pedercini Team||1:45.361|
|18||Ivan Clementi||BMW||HTM Racing||1:45.607|
|19||Federico Sandi||Kawasaki||Pedercini Team||1:47.322|