Kawasaki’s Sykes Earns 6th Superpole of 2013 World SBK at Imola

Kawasaki Racing's Tom Sykes at Imola
Kawasaki Racing's Tom Sykes at Imola
Kawasaki Racing’s Tom Sykes at Imola

2013 Imola World Superbike Superpole Results

Kawasaki Racing Team’s Tom Sykes completed the feat once again. For the sixth time in seven rounds, the Brit has placed his Ninja ZX-10R on top during Superpole.

Sykes had posted a 1:45.981 at the Italian circuit, and was the only rider to post under the 1:46 mark. Joining Sykes on the front row will be Pata Honda World Superbike’s Jonathan Rea and Althea Racing Aprilia’s Davide Giugliano, who took the third qualifying spot after a flying last lap.

Speaking of the lap times, Kawasaki says Sykes had his first class-leading lap time deleted as he crossed the finish line just after the red flags had come out due to a crash by his teammate Loris Baz. Sykes had to do it all again with no spare qualifying tire left in his allocation.

After a conference with his team, and advice from his crew to use a fresh race tyre and not a used Qualifier from an earlier Superpole session, Sykes fitted a race option and took to the track once more. He then went on to set the fastest ever lap of the Imola circuit, without even having the extra grip that a qualifying tyre provides, Kawasaki says.

This was Sykes 17th career pole, and his is now the fourth most successful rider in Superpole (tied with Doug Polen).

Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team ZX-10R Superbike) says: “That Superpole win was down to a good call by my crew chief Marcel who said, after the red flag incident, we should use a fresh race tire rather than the used qualifier I had wanted to go out on again.

“So my best lap was done on a race tyre and I wanted to try my best and put in a big push for the great fans here and I got it a bit sideways a few times. To be honest, for me it was not the pole position that meant that much. To me it was to get on the front row first of all and also because I was motivated because I had to finally use a race tire.

“When I produced that kind of fast lap time I was excited. Doing that Superpole session on a race tire has also given us good information for the races tomorrow. I am looking to put in strong results after my stupid mistake in Portimao and two strong finishes would put that memory to bed.”

Works Aprilia riders Sylvain Guintoli, the current WSBK points leader, and Eugene Laverty finished fourth and fifth respectively, followed by Leon Camier (FIXI Crescent Suzuki), Marco Melandri (BMW Motorrad GoldBet) and Ayrton Badovini (Team Ducati Alstare).

As for 2011 World SBK Cham Carlos Checa, the Ducati Alstare rider had issues in Superpole, crashing at Imola’s turn two. Checa will start from 13th.

The riders will return to Imola Sunday morning for the double header at Imola.

2013 Imola World Superbike Results:

1. Sykes (Kawasaki) 1’45.981 average 167.668 kph
2. Rea (Honda) 1’46.556
3. Giugliano (Aprilia) 1’46.713
4. Guintoli (Aprilia) 1’46.857
5. Laverty (Aprilia) 1’46.931
6. Camier (Suzuki) 1’47.165
7. Melandri (BMW) 1’47.221
8. Badovini (Ducati) 1’47.396
9. Baz (Kawasaki) 1’47.597;
10. Davies (BMW)
11. Haslam (Honda)
12. Fabrizio (Aprilia)
13. Checa (Ducati)
14. Cluzel (Suzuki)
15. Neukirchner (Ducati)
16. Sandi (Kawasaki)
17. Iannuzzo (BMW)
18. Haga (BMW)
19. Lundh (Kawasaki)