WSBK: Sykes scores sixth consecutive Superpole

Kawaski Racing Team’s Tom Sykes has secured his sixth pole position out of seven races at Imola this afternoon, dominating all three sessions at the Italian circuit despite being under pressure from Jonathan Rea

Sykes is dominating in Italy

Photo: World SBK

all weekend.

With the sun shining, Rea put his Pata Honda in provisional pole position this morning, stealing first position from Sykes in the closing six minutes of the session with a time of 1.47.205 and the Irishman looked to be strong going into Superpole. Home rider Davide Guigliano also continued his fast and consistent pace this morning, sitting in third just 0.77s behind Tom Sykes in fifth. Both the Aprilia riders continued to struggle in the final timed session ahead of Superpole with Guintoli sneaking past Laverty during the 45 minute session, finishing in 7th and 8th position respectively. World Superbike veteran Nori Haga, who is wildcarding at the event didn’t have a positive morning as he crashed out at Variante Tamburello with 15 minutes of the session remaining, walking away unhurt. 

When it was time for Superpole the legendary Italian track soared up to temperatures of over 50 degrees, ensuring the riders had a lot of grip from their Pirelli tyres. Going into the Superpole 1 clearly meaning business, Sykes topped the opening session with a time of 1.46.855, over a quarter of a second ahead of BMW’s Melandri in second position who jumped an astounding 10 positions after he pulled out a flying lap after the chequered flag. This impressive jump by Melandri pushed compatriot Ayrton Badovini down into third with a time of 1.47.272. Both Chaz Davies and Leon Haslam narrowly escaped elimination from Superpole 1, however just minutes before the end of the session they both jumped up into 11th and 12th respectively making it into Superpole 2 by a narrow margin. Carlos Checa’s season went from bad to worse as he failed to make it past Superpole 1 this afternoon, qualifying in 13th position, ahead of Fixi Crescent Suzuki’s Jules Cluzel and finally Max Neukircher in 15th, 2.072s off Sykes’ time. 

The Yorkshire Grinner continued to dominate in Superpole two, beating his own previous lap record by 0.2s setting the fastest time of the weekend, a 1.46.542. Over a quarter of a second behind the Kawasaki rider was Ayrton Badovini on his Ducati, and unsurprisingly Rea wasn’t far behind setting a time of 1.46.878 to put him in third. Despite their best efforts the day ended early for Chaz Davies and Leon Haslam, who failed to make it into the final Superpole session of the day. The Brits were joined by Michele Fabrizio on his Red Devils Roma Aprilia, who failed to impress infront of his home crowd and will start the race from 12th position. 
Riders went out for the fifth and final time of the day in the Italian heat and Sykes produced another stunning lap to put his ZX-10R on pole position for the 17th time of his career. Superpole three was not short of drama and was red flagged in the opening five minutes after Sykes’ Kawaski team-mate Loris Baz crashed at Acque Minerali leaving oil on the track. Baz failed to rejoin the session and will start from ninth on the grid. Not only did Sykes leave it until the last minute to set a time of 1.45.981 he also set it on a race tyre, proving he has an astounding pace for Sunday’s race. Despite Rea’s best efforts on his Pata Honda machine he was soon knocked off of provisional pole by Sykes, unable to make up the 0.5s deficit and will start the race from second position, one place ahead of home-hero Davide Guigliano. Aprilia Racing team-mates seemed to find a stronger pace for Superpole three and secured fourth and fifth position starts, with championship leader Guintoli leading the way from the front of the second row. Fixi Crescent Suzuki rider Leon Camier completes the second row, 1.184s back of Sykes. 
Times below: 
1. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1’45.981
2. Jonathan Rea (Pata Honda World Superbike) Honda CBR1000RR 1’46.556
3. Davide Giugliano (Althea Racing) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1’46.713
4. Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia Racing Team) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1’46.857
5. Eugene Laverty (Aprilia Racing Team) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1’46.931
6. Leon Camier (Fixi Crescent Suzuki) Suzuki GSX-R1000 1’47.165
7. Marco Melandri (BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK) BMW S1000 RR 1’47.221
8. Ayrton Badovini (Team Ducati Alstare) Ducati 1199 Panigale R 1’47.396
9. Loris Baz (Kawasaki Racing Team) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1’47.597
10. Chaz Davies (BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK) BMW S1000 RR 1’47.736
11. Leon Haslam (Pata Honda World Superbike) Honda CBR1000RR 1’48.096
12. Michel Fabrizio (Red Devils Roma) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1’47.818
13. Carlos Checa (Team Ducati Alstare) Ducati 1199 Panigale R 1’48.446
14. Jules Cluzel (Fixi Crescent Suzuki) Suzuki GSX-R1000 1’48.636
15. Max Neukirchner (MR-Racing) Ducati 1199 Panigale R 1’48.927
16. Federico Sandi (Team Pedercini) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1’49.987
17. Vittorio Iannuzzo (Grillini Dentalmatic SBK) BMW S1000 RR 1’50.787
18. Noriyuki Haga (Grillini Dentalmatic SBK) BMW S1000 RR 1’51.680
19. Alexander Lundh (Team Pedercini) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1’52.232
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