Sykes Snatches Last Gasp Sepang Pole

Tom Sykes took Kawasaki back to the top of the timesheets when it mattered most, claiming his 28th World Superbike pole position at Sepang. The ZX-10Rs hadn’t featured near the front in free practice but once qualifying tyres were fitted, Sykes enjoyed a comfortable advantage in SP2.

The pre-Superpole form suggested that pole position would be disputed by the Aprilia riders with Jordi Torres, Leon Haslam and Max Biaggi locking out the top three places. Torres carried that form into Superpole, setting a 2:03.510, but Sykes found an extra quarter of a second on his final lap to wrestle pole position away from the Spaniard.

The Yorkshireman is expecting the Aprilias to provide stiff competition tomorrow although he doesn’t feel his lowly practice position is a reflection of his race pace.

“I had a great start to the weekend as my wife had just given birth to a baby daughter. On track we were a little bit behind to start with as we had a big schedule of work this weekend and had to compromise on it because of the session we missed yesterday in the rain. That is the same for everybody so overall I am relatively happy. We did what we wanted for Superpole and did what we wanted to do in Free Practice 4. The bike settings came good and I was really happy for that. In FP3 we stayed on a harder tyre all session just to evaluate some things and we almost got caught out. On paper seventh at that point may have looked bad, but in reality it was not the case and we moved back up the order. I think tomorrow will be interesting and we do not look in bad shape, so I am relatively confident. The weather may be a bit hit and miss but we are set-up now for dry conditions.”

Behind Torres, outgoing world champion Sylvain Guintoli claimed his first front row start of the season ahead of Biaggi with Alex Lowes and Chaz Davies rounding out the second row of the grid. Jonathan Rea, who could be crowned champion if results go his way tomorrow, was left to count the cost of a mistake at turn nine which left him back in seventh and the Ulsterman will have Leon Haslam and Niccolo Canepa for company on row three.



166. Tom SykesKawasakiKawasaki Racing Team2:03.240SP2
281. Jordi TorresApriliaAprilia Racing Team – Red Devils2:03.510SP2
31. Sylvain GuintoliHondaPATA Honda World Superbike Team2:03.836SP2
43. Max BiaggiApriliaAprilia Racing Team2:03.948SP2
522. Alex LowesSuzukiVoltcom Crescent Suzuki2:04.018SP2
67. Chaz Racing – Ducati SBK Team2:04.179SP2
765. Jonathan ReaKawasakiKawasaki Racing Team2:04.207SP2
891. Leon HaslamApriliaAprilia Racing Team – Red Devils2:04.214SP2
959. Niccolo CanepaDucatiAlthea Racing2:04.654SP2
1015. Matteo BaioccoDucatiAlthea Racing2:05.000SP2
1114. Randy de PunietSuzukiVoltcom Crescent Suzuki2:05.100SP2
1286. Ayrton BadoviniBMWBMW Motorrad Italia SBKNo TimeSP2
1360. Michael van der MarkHondaPATA Honda World Superbike Team2:05.004SP1
142. Leon CamierMV AgustaMV Agusta Reparto Corse2:05.051SP1
1540. Roman RamosKawasakiTeam Go Eleven2:06.145SP1
1636. Leandro MercadoDucatiBarni Racing Team2:06.261SP1
1744. David SalomKawasakiTeam Pedercini2:06.707SP1
1845. Gianluca VizzielloKawasakiGrillini SBK Team2:07.525SP1
1923. Christophe PonssonKawasakiTeam Pedercini2:08.289SP1
2075. Gabor RizmayerBMWBMW Team Toth2:09.112SP1
2148. Alex PhillisKawasakiGrillini SBK Team2:10.512FP3
2210. Imre TothBMWBMW Team Toth2:10.585FP3