Tom Sykes snared his six-consecutive World SBK Superpole in record-breaking fashion, as the Kawasaki ace piloted his ZX-10R to a new lap record at the Imola circuit. Sykes will be joined on the front row by Honda’s Jonathan Rea and Aprilia’s Davide Giugliano.
SBK points leader Sylvain Guintoli with head Row 2 alongside his factory teammate, Eugene Laverty. Suzuki’s Leon Camier rounds out the second row – the English rider slotting one spot ahead of the top-qualifying BMW, Marco Melandri, and Alstare Ducati’s Ayrton Badovini.
Badovini’s teammate, Carlos Checa, had a rough showing in qualifying. The 2011 SBK champ did not advance to the final Superpole sessions after an early crash, and will start the races from 13th. Sykes’ teammate, Loris Baz, also suffered a get-off, which red-flagged the final session to clean up oil and fuel from the incident.
The pole setter prior to the red flag, Sykes went out and repeated the feat – this time with a standard race tire rather than qualifying rubber, setting the new record pace in the process. Sykes now ties Doug Polan for career Superpole wins at 17 – fourth on the all-time list.
“That Superpole win was down to a good call by my crew chief Marcel who said, after the red flag incident, we should use a fresh race tire rather than the used qualifier I had wanted to go out on again,” said Sykes in Kawasaki PR. “So my best lap was done on a race tire and I wanted to try my best and put in a big push for the great fans here and I got it a bit sideways a few times. To be honest, for me it was not the pole position that meant that much. To me it was to get on the front row first of all and also because I was motivated because I had to finally use a race tire. When I produced that kind of fast lap time I was excited. Doing that Superpole session on a race tire has also given us good information for the races tomorrow. I am looking to put in strong results after my stupid mistake in Portimao and two strong finishes would put that memory to bed.”
2013 World Superbike Imola Superpole Results:
1. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) 1'45.981
2. Jonathan Rea (Honda) 1'46.556
3. Davide Giugliano (Aprilia) 1'46.713
4. Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia) 1'46.857
5. Eugene Laverty (Aprilia) 1'46.931
6. Leon Camier (Suzuki) 1'47.165
7. Marco Melandri (BMW) 1'47.221
8. Ayrton Badovini (Ducati) 1'47.396
9. Loris Baz (Kawasaki) 1'47.597
10. Chaz Davies (BMW)
11. Leon Haslam (Honda)
12. Michel Fabrizio (Aprilia)
13. Carlos Checa (Ducati)
14. Jules Cluzel (Suzuki)
15. Max Neukirchner (Ducati)
16. Federico Sandi (Kawasaki)
17. Vittorio Iannuzzo (BMW)
18. Noriyuki Haga (BMW)
19. Alexander Lundh (Kawasaki)