Kawasaki Racing’s Tom Sykes earned the 13th pole position of his career at Assen, his second of the current season, outpacing the field through all three knock-out sessions. Pata Honda’s Jonathan Rea, four-time race winner at Assen, starts from second on the grid and is followed by Aprilia Racing’ s Eugene Laverty in third.
Riders got a break from the rain that hampered lap times during Friday’s practice, and most dropped 20 seconds or more in the improved conditions. Sykes achieved his best result in SP3 with a 1’35.043, a fraction of a second off the lap record at Assen set by Rea in 2010.
"The ZX-10R is working well and I was quite happy with my race pace, so when we put the Pirelli
qualifying tire in it was even better," said Sykes. "I am happy to be on the front row and even better to be in pole position. I just hope we can have some dry conditions tomorrow. Our decisions are pretty much made on what settings to run but we do have a little bit of discussion to have later, just to confirm things, but I think we know what to do."
Laverty’s teammate and current championship points leader, Sylvain Guintoli, heads-up the second row followed by Sykes’ teammate Loris Baz in fifth. Althea Racing’s Davide Giugliano posted the sixth-fastest time. BMW Motorrad GoldBet’s Marco Melandri starts from the third row in seventh and is joined by Team Ducati Alstare’s Carlos Checa in eighth and Red Devils Roma’s Michel Fabrizio in ninth.
Melandri’s teammate, Chaz Davies, will have a difficult time replicating his performance in the previous round at Aragon since he failed to qualify for SP2 at Assen. A mechanical issue left him without means to post a competitive lap time and will start from the fifth row on Sunday.
"The free practice went well. We made a step forward with the bike so I was a little bit happier and we were continuing to make progress," said Davies. "But then unfortunately, in Superpole as soon as I left the pits I could feel that something wasn’t quite right. I tried to do one quick lap but in the end it was not good enough to get me through to Superpole 2. I am not sure what the problem was, the guys are looking into it now. Obviously I am very disappointed because it is not easy to pass at Assen and it is going to be two very difficult races tomorrow."
Ayrton Badovini of Team Ducati Alstare high-sided in Turn 11 during the morning qualifying session and hurt his fingers. He was able to compete in Superpole, but reported in a team PR that his glove aggravated the injury as the day progressed, making it difficult to find a competitive pace. He failed to advance to SP3 and will start from 11th on the grid.
FIXI Crescent Suzuki’s Leon Camier continues to recover from a knee injury sustained in the lead-up to Round 2, but it was a mechanical issue that left him out of contention for a spot in Superpole. In the morning timed session he attempted to ride out to the track, but had to immediately turn back for the pits, remaining in the garage the entire session as his crew worked on the bike. He was able to ride in the second free practice later on, placing ninth, but that lap time didn't count toward his bid for Superpole and his grid placement was determined by his Friday qualifying time of 2'01.728, leaving him at the back of the pack in 19th.
World Superbike Assen Superpole Results 2013:
1. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) 1’35.043
2. Jonathan Rea (Honda) 1’35.639
3. Eugene Laverty (Aprilia) 1’35.814
4. Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia) 1’35.973
5. Loris Baz (Kawasaki) 1’36.166
6. Davide Giugliano (Aprilia) 1’36.326
7. Marco Melandri (BMW) 1’36.330
8. Carlos Checa (Ducati) 1’36.438
9. Michel Fabrizio (Aprilia) 1’37.570
10. Jules Cluzel (Suzuki) 1’36.837
11. Ayrton Badovini (Ducati) 1’36.937
12. Max Neukirchner (Ducati) 1’38.561
13. Chaz Davies (BMW) 1’37.865
14. Ivan Clementi (BMW) 1’38.016
15. Vittorio Iannuzzo (BMW) 1’39.420
16. Federico Sandi (Kawasaki) 1’40.534
17. Mark Aitchison (Ducati) 1’41.408
18. Alexander Lundh (Kawasaki) 1’42.390
19. Leon Camier (Suzuki) 2’01.728