Kawasaki’s Sykes: Provisional Pole at Assen World Superbike

Kawasaki Racing's Tom Sykes

2013 Assen World Superbike Friday Qualifying Results

The Brit who earned a record-breaking nine poles last season, and the pole at Aragon two weeks ago, is up to speed once again.

Kawasaki Racing’s Tom Sykes, who finished 2012 World Superbike a half of point behind champion Max Biaggi (Aprilia Racing Team, retired), was unstoppable Friday at the first qualifying session of Assen World Superbike.

Sykes began the wet and cold morning in the Netherlands leading the first free practice session by almost a half of second ahead of the man who took his maiden World SBK victory at Assen last season, Aprilia Racing’s Sylvain Guintoli.

Although the inclement weather refused to cease, the ZX-10R Ninja pilot continued his quickness, taking the provisional pole in the first of two qualifying sessions. Sykes would post a 1:57.190 around the 2.82-mile circuit containing 17 corners (11 left, six right).

Sykes finished QP1 1.634 seconds ahead of Guintoli, the current points leader after two of 15 rounds. Third quickest, 1.878 seconds back, was the other Aprilia Racing rider, Eugene Laverty. The Irishman will be looking to redeem himself this weekend after suffering two DNFs at Aragon. He has luck at Assen, also; he won the Supersport races there in 2009 and 2010, and had a best of second in World Superbike (race 2, last season).

Following Laverty, who was the final rider to post within two seconds of Sykes, was BMW Motorrad GoldBet’s Marco Melandri. Melandri, who has two podiums this season, was more aggressive in the wet than his teammate Chaz Davies; the Welshman, who doubles at Aragon, finished 14th.

The fifth quickest rider was Althea Aprilia Racing’s Davide Giugliano, who suffered a small crash aboard his RSV4 during the first free practice at turn 5. He was followed by the quickest Ducati, the Team Alstare 1199 Panigale RS, ridden by Ayrton Badovini. The Italian also suffered a crash, but at turn 16 in qualifying one with three minutes to go.

The top Honda rider was Pata Racing’s Jonathan Rea, who finished in seventh, 3.007 seconds back. As for his teammate, Leon Haslam suffered a hectic crash in the first free practice, breaking his lower left leg. The 29-year-old Brit was transferred to the hospital in Groningen where he will undergo surgery.

Finishing eighth quickest was the fastest Suzuki GSX-R1000, the FIXI Crescent machine piloted by Jules Cluzel. He was followed by the 2011 WSBK Champion Carlos Checa, who was 4.516 seconds off the pace.

Although recovering from a left knee injury sustained during a crash at Aragon, FIXI Crescent Suzuki’s Leon Camier rounded out the top 10.

The riders will return to the Assen circuit Saturday for another free practice and qualifying session ahead of Superpole.

2013 Assen World Superbike Qualifying One (Q1) Results:

1. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1’57.190

2. Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia Racing Team) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1’58.824

3. Eugene Laverty (Aprilia Racing Team) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1’59.068

4. Marco Melandri (BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK) BMW S1000 RR 1’59.316

5. Davide Giugliano (Althea Racing) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1’59.317

6. Ayrton Badovini (Team Ducati Alstare) Ducati 1199 Panigale R 1’59.754

7. Jonathan Rea (Pata Honda World Superbike) Honda CBR1000RR 2’00.197

8. Jules Cluzel (Fixi Crescent Suzuki) Suzuki GSX-R1000 2’00.553

9. Carlos Checa (Team Ducati Alstare) Ducati 1199 Panigale R 2’01.706

10. Leon Camier (Fixi Crescent Suzuki) Suzuki GSX-R1000 2’01.728

11. Michel Fabrizio (Red Devils Roma) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 2’02.039

12. Mark Aitchison (Team Effenbert Liberty Racing) Ducati 1098R 2’02.685

13. Loris Baz (Kawasaki Racing Team) Kawasaki ZX-10R 2’02.915

14. Chaz Davies (BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK) BMW S1000 RR 2’03.384

15. Alexander Lundh (Team Pedercini) Kawasaki ZX-10R 2’04.401

16. Max Neukirchner (MR-Racing) Ducati 1199 Panigale R 2’04.582

17. Ivan Clementi (HTM Racing) BMW S1000 RR 2’04.849

18. Vittorio Iannuzzo (Grillini Dentalmatic SBK) BMW S1000 RR 2’19.197

19. Federico Sandi (Team Pedercini) Kawasaki ZX-10R 2’07.893