Kawasaki Racing’s Tom Sykes earned his seventh Tissot-Superpole of the 2013 World Superbike season at Intercity Istanbul Park. The British rider outpaced his main rival for this year’s title, Sylvain Guintoli of Aprilia Racing, by a slim 0.022 seconds. Althea Racing’s Davide Giugliano rounds out the front row in third.
Rainfall overnight and some lingering precipitation during the morning made it impossible for riders to improve on their lap times from Friday during the second practice and qualifying sessions. Conditions finally improved and by Superpole 1 the track was dry and temperatures were up. Guintoli and his teammate, Eugene Laverty, were quick to post fast laps in SP1 but were displaced by BMW Motorrad GoldBet’s Marco Melandri. The BMW rider crashed earlier in the session but was able to remount and bring lap times down into the mid 1’56 range. Sykes, however, trumped them all with a 1’55.768 on his final rotation, nearly one second faster than Melandri.
In SP2 Laverty upped the ante with a 1’54.967, beating out second-fastest rider Giugliano by almost half a second. Sykes earned his bid to SP3 in third and was followed by Melandri’s teammate, Chaz Davies, in fourth.
In SP3 Sykes wasted no time and posted what would eventually be the fastest lap of the day, a 1’54.872, on his first flying lap of the session. Guintoli pushed hard as well and nearly matched Sykes on his final lap of the day, but fell just short of pole position.
“I am happy because this is a circuit I had never been to before and I only got two practice sessions yesterday,” said Sykes. “I lost two sessions today to the weather so considering all this I am happy. I am fighting a bit of a cold but the changes we made to the bike set-up last night were positive. My crew chief Marcel and all the guys at Kawasaki do a great job and we went in the right direction. We were able to try the adjustments early in Superpole and it was clear to see we had a good direction. We just need to see if we can put this to good use tomorrow. It is funny how it goes because Sylvain Guintoli is right beside me on the grid tomorrow. It seems we have been fighting all season, in qualifying and races, so it looks like it is going the distance!”
Laverty heads up the second row and is joined by newcomer to the World Superbike grid, Toni Elias of Red Devils Roma. Elias is the 2010 Moto2 World Champion and he moved in to replace Michel Fabrizio after Fabrizio switched to Pata Honda prior to the round in Istanbul. FIXI Crescent Suzuki’s Jules Cluzel finished SP3 in sixth.
Melandri will start from the top of the third row and is joined by Davies and Pata Honda’s Leon Haslam in eighth and ninth, respectively.
World Superbike Istanbul Superpole Results 2013:
1. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) 1’54.872
2. Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia) 1’54.894
3. Davide Giugliano (Aprilia) 1’55.073
4. Eugene Laverty (Aprilia) 1’55.340
5. Toni Elias (Aprilia) 1’55.546
6. Jules Cluzel (Suzuki) 1’55.614
7. Marco Melandri (BMW) 1’56.402
8. Chaz Davies (BMW) 1’56.416
9. Leon Haslam (Honda) 1’56.463
10. Mark Aitchison (Kawasaki) 1’57.001
11. Federico Sandi (Kawasaki) 1’57.329
12. Michel Fabrizio (Honda) 1’57.371
13. To. Uprak (Kawasaki) 2’02.469
14. Y. Ercelik (BMW) 2’04.070
15. Vittorio Iannuzzo (BMW) 2’39.610
16. Ayrton Badovini (Ducati)