Sykes claims Spanish Superpole with new outright record
Rea to go for the title from second place on the grid as he is joined on front row by Canepa
Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) has claimed the Pirelli Spanish Round pole position, his 29th career Pole after a nail biting Tissot-Superpole at the 4.423km Jerez Circuit this afternoon. The Briton lapped in an outright circuit best of 1.40.292s, six thousandths of a second better than former teammate Loris Baz’s time of 12 months ago.
The final minutes of the second session were simply hectic, with many position changes until to the chequered flag as the top 7 were separated by less than nine tenths of a second. Joining Sykes on the front row tomorrow are series leader and team mate Jonathan Rea and Althea Racing’s Niccolò Canepa, the trio split by 0.216s.
A few guys are very strong so it is good to be at the front for tomorrow’s two races.
Row 2 will be headed by Michael van der Mark, who posted a series of impressive laps to grab fourth after making his way through Superpole 1 and narrowly missing out on his first ever front row start. He will be joined by Jordi Torres (Aprilia Racing Team – Red Devils) and Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati SBK Team).
Replacement rider at the Aruba.it Racing – Ducati SBK Team Michele Pirro qualified seventh ahead of Althea Racing rider Matteo Baiocco and Voltcom Crescent Suzuki’s Alex Lowes who completes row 3.
Row 4 will see Sylvain Guintoli (Pata Honda World Superbike Team) and Leon Haslam (Aprilia Racing Team – Red Devils) ahead of Team Pedercini’s David Salom, who after falling in SP1 was unable to take to the track for the final 15 minutes.
Leon Camier (MV Agusta Reparto Corse), Leandro Mercado (Barni Racing) and Randy de Puniet (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki) will line up tomorrow on the fifth row on the grid.
Tom Sykes #66 - Kawasaki Racing Team: "A few guys are very strong so it is good to be at the front for tomorrow’s two races. I like to ride out front, that is how I like to do it. I do not like anybody behind or in front of me - I just like to go and race the tarmac. We found some clear air but had a difficult time in the first run with the race tyre, and the lap time was incredibly slow. When we put the qualifying tyre into the Ninja ZX-10R for the second run it was very easy to manage. It was such an enjoyment to ride then and to get the record was just a little bit something extra for today. Overall the target was the front row and I think our race pace is also OK.”
Jonathan Rea #65 - Kawasaki Racing Team: “I am really excited because we have done a really good job with the bike throughout the free practice sessions, and not really once this weekend have we tried to push for an out-and-out lap time. The race tyre we used at the beginning of Superpole made a really good job. Then I got a little bit too excited on the qualifying lap in T2, overcooked it a little, but I am really happy with the effort I did. To be on the front row is good because I have been acclimatised to the third row recently. The front row gives me a real chance of a good start to get stuck in. Thanks to all my guys for giving me a good bike for tomorrow.”
Niccolò Canepa #59 - Althea Racing Ducati: “I’m really happy, especially after the Free Practice crash this morning. The fall prevented me from doing any long run and at the moment I’m feeling pain everywhere. The guys did an amazing job in rebuilding the bike twice and I was not expecting a front row start, even though I thought I could finish in the top 5. It was better than expected also because I was tailing Johnny (Rea). Now it’s time to look forward to tomorrow, we’ll see how it goes but I’m confident because I have a good pace.”
Jordi Torres #81 - Aprilia Racing Team - Red Devils: “This is a good weekend for us, even if I am still a bit on the edge with the front end. When I try to push hard the smallest mistake becomes fatal, but overall I have a good pace. Starting from fifth place isn't bad. The important thing will be to stick with the best from the start and battle with them. The podium isn't my first goal. I want to stay with the leading group flag to flag, learning from the riders in front and then the results will come automatically.”
WorldSBK Jerez - Superpole
1 - Tom Sykes Kawasaki Racing Team 1'40.292
2 - Jonathan Rea Kawasaki Racing Team +0.208
3 - Niccolò Canepa Althea Racing Team +0.216
Jerez WSBK: Sykes leads Kawasaki 1-2 in qualifying
Jerez WSBK: Rea seals championship as Sykes takes win