The Kawasaki Racing Team claimed yet another SBK Superpole, but this time it wasn’t reigning champion Tom Sykes in his usual pole position form. Instead, Sykes’ KRT teammate, Loris Baz, claimed his first career SBK Superpole at Assen. The two Kawasaki’s will flank their lead championship rival, Factory Aprilia’s Sylvain Guintoli, on the Assen front row, with Sykes qualifying third for the Dutch doubleheader.
Poor weather played a role in the final Superpole session, as rain started to fall. Baz wisely chose to pit a few moments earlier in the session for a tire change, and was able to turn his Superpole lap before the conditions worsened. Several riders were caught out in the deluge, spoiling their plans for final qualifying laps.
The Assen front-row starters lead the SBK points (Sykes, Baz and Guintoli), and the three have also now evenly split the season’s Superpole wins, with one apiece. And in the first four races the trio has claimed eight of the 12 podium spots and three wins.
Starting Row 2 is Guintoli’s Aprilia teammate, Marco Melandri. The Italian is joined on the second row by Honda’s Jonathan Rea and Ducati’s Davide Giugliano. Niccolo Canepa heads Row 3, with his Althea Racing Ducati the top-qualifying EVO bike on the grid. The Italian bested the Crescent Suzuki duo of Eugene Laverty and Alex Lowes.
Former MotoGP competitor Toni Elias leads Row 4 aboard his Red Devils Roma Aprilia. Pata Honda’s Leon Haslam was 11th in the final Superpole session, while Chaz Davies had to graduate through the Superpole 2 session to qualify 12th. The latter two riders were some of the most affected by the weather, and unable to get a fast lap on their fresh tires in the session.
2014 World Superbike Assen Qualifying:
1. Loris Baz (Kawasaki) 1'34.357
2. Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia) 1'34.845
3. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) 1'35.311
4. Marco Melandri (Aprilia) 1'35.333
5. Jonathan Rea (Honda) 1'35.361
6. Davide Giugliano (Ducati) 1'35.476
7. Niccolo Canepa (Ducati) 1'35.500
8. Eugene Laverty (Suzuki) 1'35.646
9. Alex Lowes (Suzuki) 1'35.684
10. Toni Elias (Aprilia) 1'36.203
11. Leon Haslam (Honda) 1'36.284
12. Chaz Davies (Ducati) 1'36.288