Tom Sykes continued his recent upturn in performances by beating his teammate Jonathan Rea to pole position at Donington Park. The Kawasaki riders remain the men to beat after their dominance at Imola but once again, Sykes grabbed the Saturday advantage with a sensational lap in Superpole.
After a bright start to SP2, Alex Lowes held provisional pole after setting a 1:27.670 on race rubber but once the riders switched to the qualifying tyres, the Suzuki rider was usurped by local favourite Leon Haslam. The British domination was momentarily broken by Ducati’s Davide Giugliano but a blistering run through the final sector saw Sykes snatch it on a 1:27.071.
With his 26th career pole, Sykes has moved level with Troy Bayliss in the all-time list and the Yorkshireman was pleased to have made history, and is now looking to end his winning drought tomorrow.
“We have made some good steps here. We made small steps in Aragon and Assen, some bigger ones at Imola, and bigger ones again here in Donington, so I am happy. The Superpole win is nice and we have a good grid slot for tomorrow. I am very impressed with the lap time, although I came over the line and saw 1’27.0 – and then kicked myself because it should have been a 1’26! It’s just that the qualifying tyre caught me out in some areas and pushed me off line. But you cannot be greedy and I am very happy. Our race set-up seems acceptable as well. I have now gone joint second with Bayliss in Superpole wins now and that is nice. I am getting amongst some legends, all-time greats, people I admired when I grew up racing. Credit to Kawasaki and myself, because we have certainly got the speed. We could see in Superpole 1 that few riders were getting two laps out of their tyres. Into my second lap, exiting turn one, she was sliding nicely. We definitely used the potential of our rear qualifier and for that I am happy. We did enough to make it count but tomorrow is another day and we have changing weather forecasts all the time. But we are in a good position.”
Rea clocked a 1:27.308 with a minute to go to edge out Giugliano while Haslam and Lowes will make up an all-British second row with Chaz Davies after the Welshman secured sixth spot. Leon Camier worked wonders with his MV Agusta to qualify seventh ahead of Matteo Baiocco and Sylvain Guintoli while David Salom put the pain of Imola behind him to take tenth on the grid.
UK ROUND: SUPERPOLE CLASSIFICATION
|1||66. Tom Sykes||Kawasaki||Kawasaki Racing Team||1:27.071||SP2|
|2||65. Jonathan Rea||Kawasaki||Kawasaki Racing Team||1:27.308||SP2|
|3||34. Davide Giugliano||Ducati||Aruba.it Racing – Ducati SBK Team||1:27.344||SP2|
|4||91. Leon Haslam||Aprilia||Aprilia Racing Team – Red Devils||1:27.535||SP2|
|5||22. Alex Lowes||Suzuki||Voltcom Crescent Suzuki||1:27.554||SP2|
|6||7. Chaz Davies||Ducati||Aruba.it Racing – Ducati SBK Team||1:27.710||SP2|
|7||2. Leon Camier||MV Agusta||MV Agusta Reparto Corse||1:28.011||SP2|
|8||15. Matteo Baiocco||Ducati||Althea Racing||1:28.188||SP2|
|9||1. Sylvain Guintoli||Honda||PATA Honda World Superbike Team||1:28.370||SP2|
|10||44. David Salom||Kawasaki||Team Pedercini||1:28.620||SP2|
|11||86. Ayrton Badovini||BMW||BMW Motorrad Italia SBK||1:28.701||SP2|
|12||60. Michael van der Mark||Honda||PATA Honda World Superbike Team||1:28.715||SP2|
|13||81. Jordi Torres||Aprilia||Aprilia Racing Team – Red Devils||1:28.689||SP1|
|14||18. Nicolas Terol||Ducati||Althea Racing||1:28.827||SP1|
|15||36. Leandro Mercado||Ducati||Barni Racing Team||1:28.991||SP1|
|16||40. Roman Ramos||Kawasaki||Team Go Eleven||1:29.436||SP1|
|17||23. Christophe Ponsson||Kawasaki||Team Pedercini||1:29.668||SP1|
|18||14. Randy de Puniet||Suzuki||Voltcom Crescent Suzuki||1:29.686||SP1|
|19||59. Niccolo Canepa||Kawasaki||Grillini SBK Team||1:29.783||SP1|
|20||51. Santiago Barragan||Kawasaki||Grillini SBK Team||1:30.839||SP1|
|21||10. Imre Toth||BMW||BMW Team Toth||1:32.647||FP3|
|22||75. Gabor Rizmayer||BMW||BMW Team Toth||1:33.466||FP2|