Tom Sykes was the fastest rider in Friday's World Superbike qualifying session at Silverstone, his home track.
Kawasaki Racing’s Tom Sykes
topped the timesheets after Friday’s first World Superbike qualifying session at Silverstone in wet conditions. The British rider edged out current defending world champion Carlos Checa
of Althea Racing by 0.033 seconds. Checa swept Silverstone in 2011 and is shaping up to be a force out front once again this year, posting the top time earlier in the day during the first practice session. Newly added PATA Racing rider Sylvain Guintoli
was third-fastest, just 0.461 off the lead pace set by Sykes. Guintoli missed out on the previous round after being dropped from his Liberty Racing team just days before the contest at Brno was set to begin. He was picked up by PATA soon after and remains aboard the Ducati 1098R.
FIXI Crescent Suzuki’s Leon Camier
posted the fourth-fastest time and was followed by fellow Brit Chaz Davies
of ParkinGO MTC Racing in fifth. Liberty Racing’s Jakub Smrz
was sixth and Aprilia Racing’s Eugene Laverty
trailed in seventh. Guintoli’s PATA teammate Lorenzo Zanetti held the eighth-fastest time with Smrz’s teammate Maxime Berger in ninth and FIXI Suzuki rider John Hopkins
rounding out the top ten.
A number of top riders failed to break into the top ten during the initial qualifying session, including BMW Motorrad’s Marco Melandri
who took 12th and current championship points leader Max Biaggi
of Aprilia who was 17th. Honda’s Jonathan Rea
followed Biaggi in 18th and Checa’s teammate Davide Giugliano lagged in 19th.
"In the last few minutes of the qualifiers, when everyone else had improved their times, we made too many changes at the same time and that kept me from improving," explained Biaggi of his poor performance. "It takes a few laps to get a feel for the bike's performance and we didn't have enough time. Usually the times on Friday aren't fundamental, but given the unpredictable weather tomorrow it could become difficult to improve and qualify for Superpole."
Melandri struggled with chatter for most of the session and is looking to do some serious work before Superpole on Saturday. "The day was not easy. We were struggling with chattering and like that it was difficult to go fast. So we will try to improve this. The weather today was not such a big issue as we could wait in the garage but for tomorrow and Sunday it is going to be tricky because the track takes a long time to dry and you have so many different kinds of tarmac. Some parts of the track stay more wet, some less and the grip is completely different from one turn to another so it will not be easy."
World Superbike Silverstone Friday Results 2012:
Max Biaggi struggled to keep pace in the unpredictable conditions during Friday's qualifying session at Silverstone.
1. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) 2’06.115
2. Carlos Checa (Ducati) 2’06.148
3. Sylvain Guintoli (Ducati) 2’06.576
4. Leon Camier (Suzuki) 2’06.617
5. Chaz Davies (Aprilia) 2’06.684
6. Jakub Smrz (Ducati) 2’06.795
7. Eugene Laverty (Aprilia) 2’06.851
8. Lorenzo Zanetti (Ducati) 2’06.869
9. Maxime Berger (Ducati) 2’06.967
10. John Hopkins (Suzuki) 2’07.007
11. Ayrton Badovini (BMW) 2’07.089
12. Marco Melandri (BMW) 2’07.244
13. Leon Haslam (BMW) 2’07.401
14. Niccolo Canepa (Ducati) 2’07.404
15. Loris Baz (Kawasaki) 2’07.499
16. Michel Fabrizio (BMW) 2’07.658
17. Max Biaggi (Aprilia) 2’07.723
18. Jonathan Rea (Honda) 2’07.740
19. Davide Giugliano (Ducati) 2’07.810
20. Hiroshi Aoyama (Honda) 2’07.996
21. David Salom (Kawasaki) 2’09.438
22. David Johnson (Kawasaki) 2’10.043
23. Norino Brignola (BMW) 2’11.645
24. Brett McCormick (Ducati) 2’13.730
PTR Honda’s Jules Cluzel outpaced the World Supersport field in Friday’s qualifying session, earning him provisional pole position. The Honda rider beat out his PTR teammate Sam Lowes by 0.739 seconds. Current championship points leader Kenan Sofuoglu of Kawasaki Lorenzini was third-fastest with Alex Baldolini of Power Team by Suriano taking fourth. Lowes’ Bogdanka PTR teammate Mathew Sholtz was fifth-fastest and Ten Kate Racing’s Broc Parkes followed in sixth.
“I enjoyed this afternoon in a wet but drying qualifying session,” said Cluzel. “It was difficult but very enjoyable. When I was pushing on the wet parts I was getting my knee down; the grip in the wet is really nice at Silverstone. I was pushing and every lap was going faster. Maybe tomorrow it will be a full wet day and today's result may set the final gird position. I am happy.”
World Supersport Silverstone Friday Results 2012:
Jules Cluzel led the World Supersport pack on Friday.
1. Jules Cluzel (Honda) 2’23.241
2. Sam Lowes (Honda) 2’23.980
3. Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki) 2’25.235
4. Alex Baldolini (Triumph) 2’26.656
5. Mathew Scholtz (Honda) 2’27.072
6. Broc Parkes (Honda) 2’27.177
7. Vladimir Leonov (Yamaha) 2’27.302
8. Josh Day (Kawasaki) 2’27.455
9. Imre Toth (Honda) 2’27.470
10. Sheridan Morais (Kawasaki) 2’27.756
11. Gabor Talmacsi (Honda) 2’28.477
12. Balazs Nemeth (Honda) 2’28.860
13. Dan Linfoot (Kawasaki) 2’29.119
14. Jed Metcher (Yamaha) 2’29.293
15. Florian Marino (Kawasaki) 2’29.478