Sykes secures Imola pole after incident hit session
Kawasaki’s Tom Sykes once again showed he is a dominant force in the World Superbike Championship as he secured pole position for round seven at Imola.
The Brit has been in impressive form at the famous San Marino circuit which he carried into the all important Superpole, topping each of the three sessions despite a lengthy stoppage.
Northern Ireland’s Jonathan Rea was the only man to challenge Sykes, finishing just half a second shy.
Italian Davide Giugliano guided his Aprilia to third with championship leader Sylvain Guintoli fourth quickest.
There was a surprise before the Superpole sessions unfolded as World Superbike legend Noriyuki Haga failed to qualify for Superpole on his return to the championship with the Grillini Dentalmatic BMW squad.
Another shock followed after Superpole 1 as former world champion Carlos Checa was unable to find the speed necessary to secure a spot in Superpole 2 leaving him 13th on the grid.
However, at the front Sykes looked in imperious form by topping Superpole 1 and Superpole 2. But he left it late in the final shootout to grab pole.
The Pata Honda of Rea set the initial pace as he surged to provisional pole ahead of BMW’s Marco Melandri and Giugliano, before Fixi Crescent Suzuki’s Leon Camier popped into third.
Guintoli was the next rider to shine as he went second fastest before the session was brought to a premature halt. Sykes‘ team mate Loris Baz was involved in a spectacular crash at Aque Minerale which saw his bike barrel roll across the gravel trap before settling on the track and depositing fluid on the circuit. Luckily Baz walked away unscathed.
The session was halted and at this point Sykes and Eugene Laverty had not set a time before the red flag.
Once the session resumed Sykes stayed calm and wasted little time in securing pole as he set an impressive time of 1.45.881s to deny Rea pole position. The rest of the field were unable to respond to the Kawasaki man’s blistering pace leaving Rea to start from second with Giugliano third.
Guintoli was fourth just ahead of Laverty and the improving Camier. Melandri pipped Ayrton Badovini into seventh while Baz and Chaz Davies rounded out the top 10.
Result: San Marino qualifying
|1||Tom Sykes||Kawasaki Racing ZX-10R||1:45.981s|
|2||Jonathan Rea||Pata Honda CBR1000RR||1:46.556|
|3||Davide Giugliano||Althea Aprilia RSV4||1:46.713|
|4||Sylvain Guintoli||Aprilia Racing RSV4||1:46.857|
|5||Eugene Laverty||Aprilia Racing RSV4||1:46.931|
|6||Leon Camier||Crescent Suzuki GSX R1000||1:47.165|
|7||Marco Melandri||BMW GoldBet S1000RR||1:47.221|
|8||Ayrton Badovini||Ducati 1199 R||1:47.396|
|9||Loris Baz||Kawasaki Racing ZX-10R||No Time|
|10||Chaz Davies||BMW GoldBet S1000RR HP4||1:47.736|
|11||Leon Haslam||Honda CBR1000RR||1:48.096|
|12||Michel Fabrizio||Aprilia RSV4||No Time|
|13||Carlos Checa||Ducati 1199 R||1:48.446|
|14||Jules Cluzel||Suzuki GSX-R1000||1:48.636|
|15||Max Neukirchner||Ducati 1199 R||1:48.927|