World Superbike Assen Superpole 2012

April 21, 2012
Bart Madson
By Bart Madson
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Bashing away at the MotoUSA keyboard for nine years now, Madson lends his scribbling and editorial input on everything from bike reviews to industry analysis and motorcycle racing reports.

Tom Sykes took his third pole position of the season  three for three  during damp conditions at Assen.
Tom Sykes takes another Superpole, the KRT ZX-10R rider seizing pole during a wet qualifying session.

Kawasaki’s Tom Sykes keeps his pole position streak in check. The KRT rider took top honors in a wet Superpole session. Honda’s Jonathan Rea joins Sykes on the front row, alongside Liberty Racing Ducati’s Jakub Smrz and Sylvain Guintoli. Defending champion Carlos Checa was fifth-fastest, while Aprilia’s Max Biaggi did not make it into the 16-rider Superpole and will start from 17th on the grid for Sunday’s doubleheader.

SBK officials declared the Superpole wet, so the usual three-session knockout format was replaced with a pair of 20-minute sessions. Guintoli, the fastest SBK rider on Friday, finished atop Superpole 1. Key riders to miss the Superpole cutoff were BMW’s Marco Melandri, Aprilia’s Eugene Laverty and Crescent Suzuki’s Leon Camier. The RSV4 pilot crashed in the Superpole session, meanwhile Camier suffered a nasty spill during the preceding morning practice.

Sykes maintained top position throughout the closing session; the Englishman was the first to dip under 1’37 and later 1’36. None could match the Kawasaki rider, whose 1’35.399 was a full second ahead of his nearest competitor. Sykes will line up next to Rea, winner of three of the last four Assen SBK races. Liberty Racing Ducati riders Smrz and Guintoli edged their 1098R comrade, Checa, off the front row.

Max Biaggi had a difficult qualifying  missing Superpole and starting the Assen doubleheader from 17th on the grid.
Max Biaggi had a difficult qualifying, missing Superpole and starting the Assen doubleheader from 17th on the grid.

Checa slot right behind Sykes, one of his prime title challengers in the early season, leading Row 2. Alongside the Althea Racing ace is BMW Italia’s Michel Fabrizio, the top placing S1000RR rider, who got one up on factory man Leon Haslam. American John Hopkins had one of his better results in another injury-plagued season – the Crescent Fixi Suzuki rider slipping into Superpole 2 and qualifying eighth-fastest.

Biaggi’s dismal qualifying result was foiled by the weather. With rain spoiling Friday afternoon and Saturday qualifying sessions, the opening dry laps on Friday proved critical in making it into the top 16 Superpole cutoff. The 2010 SBK champion missed by one position and will start from 17th.

2012 World Superbike Superpole Results:
1. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) 1’35.399
2. Jonathan Rea (Honda) 1’36.432
3. Jakub Smrz (Ducati) 1’36.566
4. Sylvain Guintoli (Ducati) 1’36.875
5. Carlos Checa (Ducati) 1’37.156
6. Michel Fabrizio (BMW) 1’37.311
7. Leon Haslam (BMW) 1’37.592
8. John Hopkins (Suzuki) 1’37.913
9. Marco Melandri (BMW) 1’40.516
10. David Salom (Kawasaki) 1’40.523
11. Chaz Davies (Aprilia) 1’40.627
12. Leon Camier (Suzuki) 1’40.681
13. Brett McCormick (Ducati) 1’41.962
14. Eugene Laverty (Aprilia) 1’43.947
15. Maxime Berger (Ducati) 1’44.022
16. Ayrton Badovini (BMW) 1’44.500
17. Max Biaggi (Aprilia)
18. Niccolo Canepa (Ducati)
19. Davide Giugliano (Ducati)
20. Leandro Mercado (Kawasaki)
21. Hiroshi Aoyama (Honda)
22. Mark Aitchison (BMW)
23. Lorenzo Zanetti (Ducati)

Sam Lowes arrived at Assen second in the World Supersport points.
Bogdanka PTR Honda’s Sam Lowes will start the Assen World Supersport race from pole position.

World Supersport

The difficult conditions on Saturday kept the Supersport qualifying order static from Friday. The front row remains dominated by Honda riders with Bogdanka PTR’s Sam Lowes on pole position, followed by Ten Kate’s Broc Parkes and PTR’s Jules Cluzel. Kenan Sofuoglu nicked fellow Kawasaki ZX-6R rider Fabien Foret for the final front row position. Instead the current points leader and former WSS champion will head Row 2. American PJ Jacobsen will start his first World Supersport race from 24th – the 18-year old lining up alongside compatriot and fellow AMA Pro Racing alumn Josh Day.

2012 World Supersport Assen Qualifying:
1. Sam Lowes (Honda) 1’38.900
2. Broc Parkes (Honda) 1’38.939
3. Jules Cluzel (Honda) 1’39.450
4. Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki) 1’39.548
5. Fabien Foret (Kawasaki) 1’39.730
6. Imre Toth (Honda) 1’40.040
7. Sheridan Morais (Kawasaki) 1’40.090
8. Vladimir Leonov (Yamaha) 1’40.289
9. Massimo Roccoli (Yamaha) 1’40.326
10. Mathew Scholtz (Honda) 1’40.390
11. Valentine Debise (Honda) 1’40.524
12. Jed Metcher (Yamaha) 1’40.618
13. Andrea Antonelli (Honda) 1’40.727
14. Vittorio Iannuzzo (Triumph) 1’40.762
15. Ronan Quarmby (Honda) 1’40.797

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