Kawasaki’s Sykes Earns 5th SBK Superpole at Portimao

Kawasaki Racing's Tom Sykes
Kawasaki Racing's Tom Sykes
Kawasaki Racing’s Tom Sykes

2013 Portimao World Superbike Superpole Results

Kawasaki Racing Team’s Tom Sykes was once again the man to beat in World Superbike Superpole.

The Brit earned his fifth straight pole at Portimao, and 16th of his career. En route to the Superpole win, Sykes also set a new Best Lap at the Portuguese track – a 1:41.360.

Joining Sykes on the front row for Sunday’s double header will be Aprilia Racing Team’s Eugene Laverty and Pata Honda Racing’s Jonathan Rea, who led Friday’s qualifying session.

Sykes beat Laverty to the pole position by a mere 0.001 of a second. This only happened one other time in 2009 when Ben Spies robbed Michel Fabrizio of the Superpole.

Despite the Portimao track surface being more bumpy than last year, and with small spots of rain arriving to turn a planned three part dry Superpole into a two-part wet Superpole, Sykes was still quick.

Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team ZX-10R Ninja) says: “I am really happy to have five Superpole wins on the bounce, it is a record for me. I was able to do my time on a dry and sunny track but Eugene Laverty almost beat me to it this time. He was not quite close enough, so it does not matter if it is one thousandth of a second or one second, it went in my favor.

“I am looking forward to two races tomorrow and I am expecting them to be difficult, but also a good show for the fans. We took a circuit best lap and I was surprised at that because last year I put in a good lap in better conditions. I think it shows that Pirelli have made a good step with the tires. Conditions today were not as good as last year and yet we went faster. I was not expecting this lap time – but I will certainly take it!”

Today’s Superpole was partly influenced by the weather, as drops of rain began to fall moments before the start of Superpole 2. As per the 2013 WSBK Sporting Regulations, a final 20-minute wet session took place with all 12 riders involved. The conditions quickly improved, though, meaning the riders could fight for the top positions on the grid on dry track.

BMW Motorrad Goldbet’s Marco Melandri finished fourth, ahead of the current points leader Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia Racing Team), Loris Baz (Kawasaki Racing Team) and an improving Carlos Checa (Team Ducati Alstare). The latter was forced to miss race two at Donington two weeks ago due to ongoing shoulder issues. But the 1199 Panigale R rider has improved as Portimao World Superbike progressed.

Frenchman Jules Cluzel (FIXI Cluzel) was 8th at the flag followed by the Italian trio of Michel Fabrizio (Red Devils Roma Aprilia), Ayrton Badovini (Team Ducati Alstare) and Davide Giugliano (Althea Racing Ducati). The 2011 STK1000 Champion had an innocent crash at Turn 8 during the last Superpole session.

2013 Portimao World Superbike Superpole Results:
1. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1’41.360
2. Eugene Laverty (Aprilia Racing Team) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1’41.361
3. Jonathan Rea (Pata Honda World Superbike) Honda CBR1000RR 1’41.787
4. Marco Melandri (BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK) BMW S1000 RR 1’42.115
5. Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia Racing Team) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1’42.209
6. Loris Baz (Kawasaki Racing Team) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1’42.328
7. Carlos Checa (Team Ducati Alstare) Ducati 1199 Panigale R 1’42.405
8. Jules Cluzel (Fixi Crescent Suzuki) Suzuki GSX-R1000 1’42.645
9. Michel Fabrizio (Red Devils Roma) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1’43.032
10. Ayrton Badovini (Team Ducati Alstare) Ducati 1199 Panigale R 1’43.057
11. Davide Giugliano (Althea Racing) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1’43.314
12. Chaz Davies (BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK) BMW S1000 RR 1’43.463
13. Leon Camier (Fixi Crescent Suzuki) Suzuki GSX-R1000 1’43.139
14. Leon Haslam (Pata Honda World Superbike) Honda CBR1000RR 1’43.522
15. Max Neukirchner (MR-Racing) Ducati 1199 Panigale R 1’44.038
16. Vittorio Iannuzzo (Grillini Dentalmatic SBK) BMW S1000 RR 1’45.208
17. Alexander Lundh (Team Pedercini) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1’45.361
18. Ivan Clementi (HTM Racing) BMW S1000 RR 1’45.607
19. Federico Sandi (Team Pedercini) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1’47.322