Thanks to a complete 180-degree turn in weather from Friday’s rain-soaked sessions, Sykes and company were able to post some of the quickest laps ever seen at Donington. Under sunny skies the British rider broke his own lap record, set in 2012, with a 1’27.378 in SP3. Guintoli tied Sykes’ 2012 lap time with his 1’27.716 and Laverty was only one-hundredth of a second from breaking into the 1’27s himself.
Pata Honda’s Jonathan Rea heads up the second row followed by FIXI Crescent Suzuki’s Leon Camier in fifth and BMW Motorrad GoldBet’s Marco Melandri in sixth. Melandri’s teammate, Chaz Davies, scored seventh and is joined by Althea Racing’s Davide Giugliano and Team Ducati Alstare wildcard rider, Niccolo Canepa, on the third row.
Camier, Rea and Melandri pushed down to the final seconds of SP3 in search of better grid position. The FIXI rider was first to jump up the ranks, settling into fourth-place with close to one minute left in the session. Rea was behind Camier on track though, and bumped the Suzuki ace to fifth in the final seconds. Melandri, seeking whatever edge he could find, went out in the final portion of the session on a fresh set of race tires, but they proved ineffectual in helping him gain ground on either Rea or Camier.
Team Ducati Alstare’s Carlos Checa made push in SP2 to qualify inside the top-nine, but was only able to get to eighth-place in the final minutes. As other riders improved their time, Checa got bumped down the ranks, ending the session in 10th and failing to advance to SP3. Camier’s teammate, Jules Cluzel, saw his final effort in SP2 come up short as well and he’ll start Sunday from 11th on the grid. Sykes’ teammate, Loris Baz, qualified in 12th.
Rea’s teammate, Leon Haslam, got a bid to SP1 but was unable to earn his way to SP2. The British rider is newly returned after breaking his leg in the opening sessions at Assen earlier in the year. Checa’s teammate, Ayrton Badovini, and Red Devils Roma’s Michel Fabrizio didn’t make it out of SP1 either and will start from 14th and 15th, respectively, on Sunday.
World Superbike Donington Park Superpole Results 2013:
1. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) 1’27.378
2. Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia) 1’27.716
3. Eugene Laverty (Aprilia) 1’28.014
4. Jonathan Rea (Honda) 1’28.139
5. Leon Camier (Suzuki) 1’28.252
6. Marco Melandri (BMW) 1’28.280
7. Chaz Davies (BMW) 1’28.644
8. Davide Guigliano (Aprilia) 1’28.779
9. Niccolo Canepa (Ducati) 1’29.318
10. Carlos Checa (Ducati) 1’28.454
11. Jules Cluzel (Suzuki) 1’28.844
12. Loris Baz (Kawasaki) 1’28.850
13. Leon Haslam (Honda) 1’29.172
14. Ayrton Badovini (Ducati) 1’29.211
15. Michel Fabrizio (Aprilia) 1’29.214
16. Max Neukirchner (Ducati) 1’30.817
17. Federico Sandi (Kawasaki) 1’32.010
18. Vittorio Iannuzzo (BMW) 1’32.145
19. Alexander Lundh (Kawasaki) 1’33.141