Kawasaki took its first Superpole win since 2007 when Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) lapped the damp Imola circuit Saturday in 2’07.341, holding off a late charge from Pata B&G Aprilia rider Jakub Smrz.
Sykes is now the seventh rider to have earned a pole position in 2010, in 12 rounds so far. Championship challenger Leon Haslam (Suzuki Alstare) went third and the last place on the front row will go to local regular, Luca Scassa (Supersonic Ducati). This is Scassa’s first front row in WSBK racing.
The second row for Sunday’s races will be headed up by Lorenzo Lanzi (DFX Corse Ducati), with the smooth riding-style of Troy Corser taking him to sixth fastest for the BMW Motorrad Motorsport Team.
Max Biaggi (Aprilia Alitalia) was seventh fastest and starts the races from the second row, as he tries to win the championship tomorrow. Eighth was the second official BMW, ridden by a former race winner here, Ruben Xaus.
In damp conditions Superpole two was treacherous and Carlos Checa (Althea Racing) fell from his big vee-twin exiting a chicane, as did many other riders. Fastest going into Superpole, Carlos was therefore ninth fastest overall, ahead of the factory Ducati Xerox machine of Michel Fabrizio.
The third row was rounded out by Hannspree Ten Kate Honda rider Max Neukirchner and Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha Sterilgarda). Crutchlow was on track to enter Superpole three, but ran off track without falling at the first Rivazza corner.
Tom Sykes says: “Hopefully it’s my first pole of many! You know it’s fantastic that Kawasaki has managed to get a pole position. Coming into the Superpole we struggled a little bit because it was the first time in the wet, but the team really worked hard through the three sessions and when it counted at the end we had the best package to work with, so hopefully I can repay them tomorrow in the races!”
Jakub Smrz says:: “It was a really nice result for me, because it’s my first time on the Aprilia in the wet. It was very difficult, I’m still struggling a bit with the set-up of the new bike, but today was really good and really close. I can’t change the conditions anyway, so everybody will be in the same boat.”
Leon Haslam says: “It was quite sketchy out there, the first lap with the new tyre wasn’t too bad but there were a lot of slippery crashes. It’s the first time I’ve been in a wet weather situation with the Suzuki so to have put it on the front row, I’m quite pleased with that. I’ve been third in the dry and third in the wet here so it gives me a good chance of getting onto the podium tomorrow. I just want to say thanks to the Alstare boys, they’ve done wonders all year, I hope to repay them with a win.”
Imola World Superbike Superpole Times: 1.Sykes T. (GBR) Kawasaki ZX 10R 2’07.341; 2.Smrz J. (CZE) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 2’07.392; 3.Haslam L. (GBR) Suzuki GSX-R1000 2’08.273; 4.Scassa L. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 2’08.427; 5.Lanzi L. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 2’08.490; 6.Corser T. (AUS) BMW S1000 RR 2’09.842; 7. Biaggi M. (ITA) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 2’09.924; 8.Xaus R. (ESP) BMW S1000 RR 2’10.482; 9.Checa C. (ESP) Ducati 1098R 2’11.117; 10.Fabrizio M. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 2’11.130; 11. Neukirchner M. (GER) Honda CBR1000RR 2’11.150; 12.Crutchlow C. (GBR) Yamaha YZF R1 2’11.271; 13.Byrne S. (GBR) Ducati 1098R 2’11.395; 14.Rea J. (GBR) Honda CBR1000RR 2’11.558; 15.Haga N. (JPN) Ducati 1098R 2’11.601; 16.Guintoli S. (FRA) Suzuki GSX-R1000 2’11.706.