Tom Sykes continued his fantastic qualifying run- and added to his growing watch collection - with another Superpole victory here at a sunny Donington park for the European FIM World Superbike Superpole.
Leon Haslam posted a promising first lap of 1’29.172 to mark his fastest of his rides all weekend, but it wasn’t enough to secure his place into the second round of superpole; with Cluzel sneaking in a solid time on his final, flying lap to knock the injured rider down into thirteenth. The local man will be joined by Badovini and Fabrizio who also failed to post fast enough times to progress.
The second session began in much the same vein as the first, with Sykes, Guintoli and Laverty all posting strong times. Checa, Cluzel and Baz all looked to have their work cut out for them on their final laps and this proved to be the case as they were unable to qualify as one of the nine riders through to the third and final superpole round.
And so, into session three. Sykes remained dominant throughout, posting a final best lap of 1’27.378 followed by Guintoli – joining him in the 27 club with a 1’27.716 and then Laverty with a 1’28.014 to round off the front row of the grid.
Speaking after the race, Eugene Laverty seemed content with his finish, “It’s always important to get front row, especially here on a tight and twisty track. We'll be there or thereabouts tomorrow, the RSV4 has so much power we need to work hard to control it. But we're getting there.”
Sylvain Guintoli too was very aware of just how much work he has to do, especially if he’s to help earn Aprilia their first ever win at the Donington track.
“We all know that Tom is very hard to beat on qualifying. I made a little mistake at the end of the lap but I wouldn't have got it anyway, Tom is very fast. We're working hard on managing the power though and this looks like it is paying dividends. I'm going to try and push and get back on that podium”.
Referring to the controversial points decision at Monza last time around, he was adamant that he’d make amends, “Every point counts and this is basically my home race, I only live 30mins down the road, so I'm looking forward to it. Aprilia have the pace, but there are others who have the pace as well.”
Sykes – with the vocal support of the local crowd behind him – was in a buoyant mood, “The boys have done a great job with the setup after my little crash yesterday. I was disappointed with the first lap of Superpole 3, but I've been practicing on the PlayStation and it said I could make a 26.9 so I pushed hard!”
Speaking of the race pace that he’s shown so far this year, he was also confident, “We didn't have the luxury to fight back at the end of races last year, but this year we've been able to do it. Kawasaki have done a great job and I've dug deep, so it looks like we've crossed that bridge now!”.
Donington - FIM Superbike World Championship - Superpole 3
1. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1'27.378
2. Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia Racing Team) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1'27.716
3. Eugene Laverty (Aprilia Racing Team) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1'28.014
4. Jonathan Rea (Pata Honda World Superbike) Honda CBR1000RR 1'28.139
5. Leon Camier (Fixi Crescent Suzuki) Suzuki GSX-R1000 1'28.252
6. Marco Melandri (BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK) BMW S1000 RR 1'28.280
7. Chaz Davies (BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK) BMW S1000 RR 1'28.644
8. Davide Giugliano (Althea Racing) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1'28.779
9. Niccolò Canepa (Team Ducati Alstare) Ducati 1199 Panigale R 1'29.318
10. Carlos Checa (Team Ducati Alstare) Ducati 1199 Panigale R 1'28.454
11. Jules Cluzel (Fixi Crescent Suzuki) Suzuki GSX-R1000 1'28.844
12. Loris Baz (Kawasaki Racing Team) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1'28.850
13. Leon Haslam (Pata Honda World Superbike) Honda CBR1000RR 1'29.172
14. Ayrton Badovini (Team Ducati Alstare) Ducati 1199 Panigale R 1'29.211
15. Michel Fabrizio (Red Devils Roma) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1'29.214
16. Max Neukirchner (MR-Racing) Ducati 1199 Panigale R 1'30.817
17. Federico Sandi (Team Pedercini) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1'32.010
18. Vittorio Iannuzzo (Grillini Dentalmatic SBK) BMW S1000 RR 1'32.145
19. Alexander Lundh (Team Pedercini) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1'33.141