Kawasaki Racing Team’s Tom Sykes took the first advantage on day one of the UK World SBK round, continuing his stunning form around the Leicestershire circuit.
Soaked in sunshine this morning Sykes came out on the ZX-10R with flying form and despite challenges from Aruba.it Racing’s Chaz Davies and Davide Giugliano, Sykes was the first rider to secure a sub 1.30 lap time.
A crash at the bottom of the famous Craner Curves for Lussiana led to the reg flags being waved with 13 minutes of the session remaining, but all riders were OK
Sykes was unbeatable in the closing minutes of the opening session and held onto his lead by 0.209 ahead of Giugliano in second and reigning champion Jonathan Rea in third.
Sun continued to shine over the circuit as riders headed out for free practise two, and times plumeted.
It was Sykes who ended the session on top again, this time with a lap time of 1.27.927 and only 0.039 ahead of team-mate Rea.
Riders were treated to yet another disturbed session as Chaz Davies’ Aruba.it Racing Ducati’s bike set alight in the opening 20 minutes of the session, but luckily no oil was dropped.
Once the fire was under control riders went back out onto the circuit for the remainder of the session and it only took 15 minutes for Sykes to set the fastest time, and remained unchallenged for the rest of the session.
There were crashes from both Rea and Sykes in the session but both were able to rejoin and were OK.
Guigliano continued his solid form and finished the day in third, ahead of an injured Alex Lowes in fourth. Chaz Davies ended the day in fifth as Camier continued Brit dominated in sixth.
Given the new format for Superpole this season, it means a riders position in both free practices determine if they can secure an automatic position in the top ten for qualifying. Following today’s sessions Honda duo Michael van der Mark and Nicky Hayden will have to go through Superpole one.
For a full list of times, and who’s made it into Superpole two click here.