Kawasaki’s Sykes Earns 13th Career Pole at Assen Superbike

Kawasaki Racing's Tom Sykes

2013 Assen World Superbike Superpole Results

For the second time of the season, and the 13th time of his World Superbike career, Kawasaki Racing's Tom Sykes achieved Superpole.

The Brit's latest arrived Saturday at the Assen TT Circuit in the Netherlands. Sykes piloted his Kawasaki ZX-10R Ninja to a 1:35.043 around the 2.82-mile circuit containing 17 corners (11 left, six right), finishing  0.569 of a second ahead of Pata Honda World Superbike's Jonathan Rea.

Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing ZX-10R Ninja Superbike) says: “The ZX-10R is working well and I was quite happy with my race pace, so when we put the Pirelli qualifying tire in it was even better. I am happy to be on the front row and even better to be in pole position.

"I just hope we can have some dry conditions tomorrow. Our decisions are pretty much made on what settings to run but we do have a little bit of discussion to have later, just to confirm things, but I think we know what to do. We put 22 laps on a tyre earlier and were very surprised and happy with the results, so when I am on clear track I can do what I want and I know what’s needed. Tomorrow we will be faced with a bit of a fight maybe but if we can have some good luck I am confident.”

Though quick, Sykes, who led fastest Friday and during Saturday's free practice 2 session, couldn't beat Rea's fastest qualifying lap at Assen, which was a 1:34.944 set in 2010 (Honda CBR1000RR).

Rea also has luck at Assen, the Northern Irishman winning four out of the six last races.

Jonathan Rea (Pata Honda CBR1000RR Superbike) says: "First of all, I’m just excited to be back in a front row press conference - the last time was the end of last season. I’m looking forward to the races, though; my guys have done some work and I’m feeling very, very comfortable on the bike but we’ve had minimal time so far to put distance on a race tire.

"I think we have two options we can have a look at but a lot will depend on the temperature tomorrow. I thought I could go with Tom [Sykes] this weekend and really push, but I had a big front slide in turn three and put my heart rate through the roof, so I nursed it home. Superpole’s not really my thing, but I felt really confident at the start of Superpole 3 and went out first on a race tire. Anyway, it’s great to be on the front row for the team’s home race and I just want to send a ‘get well soon’ message to my team-mate, Leon [Haslam], who had a big crash on Friday."

Joining Sykes and Rea on the front row will be Aprilia Racing's Eugene Laverty, who will be looking to redeem some points following two DNFs at Aragon two weeks ago.

Eugene Laverty (Aprilia Racing Team RSV4 Superbike) says: "I'm really happy to be on the front row. Today I thought it would be difficult after the free practice sessions because, besides Sykes and myself, Rea and Sylvain were also quite quick. In the end when Tom puts the qualifying tire on he's basically unbeatable and Jonny put in a perfect lap, so I'll be starting from the third spot on the grid.

"Tomorrow the races will also be difficult since today is the only day we've been able to test in the dry. Understanding how the tires will perform and how to manage them over the race distance will make the difference. We'll have some work to do this evening and during the warm ups tomorrow morning to be ready for the starting grid."

Heading up the second row will be Laverty's teammate and current points leader, Sylvain Guintoli. The RSV4 pilot was the final rider to post within a second of Sykes, and will be joined on the second row by Kawasaki Racing's Loris Baz and the rider who led Saturday's second qualifying, Davide Giugliano (Althea Aprilia RSV4).

BMW Motorrad GoldBet's Marco Melandri was seventh quickest in Superpole, and will head up the third row. Next was the fastest Ducati rider, Alstare 1199 Panigale RS rider Carlos Checa, who finished ahead of Red Devils Roma Aprilia's Michel Fabrizio.

Checawas 0.3 seconds slower in the end of Superpole 3 than in Superpole 2; if they used his Superpole 2 time, he would have qualified fifth instead of ninth.

The fourth row, consisting of the 10th through 12th fastest riders, will be made up of FIXI Crescent Suzuki's Jules Cluzel, Team Ducati Alstare's Ayrton Badonvini and MR Racing Ducati's Max Neukirchner.

Dead last on the grid is FIXI Crescent Suzuki's Leon Camier, who is recovering from a left knee injury.

The 19-rider grid - short Pata Honda Racing's Leon Haslam, who broke his lower left leg on Friday at Assen - will return to the Dutch TT track Sunday for round 3 of 15's double header.

beIN Sport will broadcast the races live beginning at 6 a.m. Sunday, April 28.

2013 Assen World Superbike Superpole Results:
1. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1'35.043
2. Jonathan Rea (Pata Honda World Superbike) Honda CBR1000RR 1'35.639
3. Eugene Laverty (Aprilia Racing Team) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1'35.814
4. Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia Racing Team) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1'35.973
5. Loris Baz (Kawasaki Racing Team) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1'36.166
6. Davide Giugliano (Althea Racing) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1'36.326
7. Marco Melandri (BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK) BMW S1000 RR 1'36.330
8. Carlos Checa (Team Ducati Alstare) Ducati 1199 Panigale R 1'36.438
9. Michel Fabrizio (Red Devils Roma) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1'37.570
10. Jules Cluzel (Fixi Crescent Suzuki) Suzuki GSX-R1000 1'36.837
11. Ayrton Badovini (Team Ducati Alstare) Ducati 1199 Panigale R 1'36.937
12. Max Neukirchner (MR-Racing) Ducati 1199 Panigale R 1'38.561
13. Chaz Davies (BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK) BMW S1000 RR 1'37.865
14. Ivan Clementi (HTM Racing) BMW S1000 RR 1'38.016
15. Vittorio Iannuzzo (Grillini Dentalmatic SBK) BMW S1000 RR 1'39.420
16. Federico Sandi (Team Pedercini) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1'40.534
17. Mark Aitchison (Team Effenbert Liberty Racing) Ducati 1098R 1'41.408
18. Alexander Lundh (Team Pedercini) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1'42.390
19. Leon Camier (Fixi Crescent Suzuki) Suzuki GSX-R1000 2'01.728


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