World Superbike

SBK Portimao: Sykes Takes Pole By Smallest Of Margins

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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
Pos Rider Bike Team Time
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
15  Max Neukirchner Ducati MR-Racing 1:44.038
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


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MotoGP, Moto2, Moto3 and WorldSBK writer for The Checkered Flag. Contact: [email protected]
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