Tom Sykes made history on Saturday at Misano, becoming the first rider in World Superbike history to take pole position despite starting out in Superpole 1. The Yorkshireman was forced into action a little earlier than usual after finishing combined practice in eleventh but found his best form when it mattered most, claiming his 27th career pole.
Predictably, Sykes cruised through the opening session with a 1:34.486, half a second clear of Ayrton Badovini, but his success in SP2 came as a bigger surprise. The Kawasaki rider shaved a quarter of a second off his SP1 time to see off the Aprilia of Leon Haslam who re-established his superiority over the returning Max Biaggi.
After lacking pace in the free practice sessions, Sykes admitted he wasn’t heading into Superpole with high hopes but admitted the extra outing may have worked in his favour.
“I am a little bit surprised to win Superpole because I was not sure if my lap was good enough. But it was, so for this I am happy. I used a race tyre, then a qualifier in Superpole 1 and finally we had to do three fast laps on the front tyre. I did a 1’34.9 on a race tyre at one stage but the front tyre had already done ten laps. The new track surface is good and the circuit is faster, and a better camber in some areas. We have had a good way of working through the weekend but we had to try a couple of different things and they did not work out. We got caught out because we did not put a fresh tyre in during practice to check our performance over one lap. In a way it was good to do Superpole 1 because I got three extra flying laps in. At this level it gives you a bit more understanding, especially on fresh tyres.”
Davide Giugliano ensured three different manufacturers would be represented on the front row by qualifying third while championship leader Jonathan Rea pulled a 1:34.459 out of the bag on his final lap to salvage fourth. His improvement relegated Max Biaggi to fifth with practice pacesetter Jordi Torres in sixth.
Alex Lowes will start seventh for Suzuki ahead of the BMW of Badovini and the leading Honda of Sylvain Guintoli. Michele Pirro, in for the injured Luca Scassa, qualified an excellent tenth ahead of regular Ducati rider Chaz Davies who suffered a gear sensor problem which kept him back in eleventh.
PATA RIVIERA DI RIMINI ROUND: SUPERPOLE CLASSIFICATION
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