For the first time this season, Kawasaki Racing Team’s Tom Sykes earned pole position. This was after the 2013 World Superbike Champion dominated Superpole at the historic Assen TT Circuit in the Netherlands for round four of 13.Sykes earned his 25th SBK-career pole with a 1:34.789 lap around the 2.82-mile circuit. Sykes will be joined on the front row for Sunday’s two 25-lap races by teammate Jonathan Rea, who earned pole at Phillip Island and Chang International Circuit, and Aprilia Racing Team’s Leon Haslam, who earned the pole at Aragon last week.
Rea trailed Sykes by 0.131 of a second, and Haslam by 0.547 of a second, which shows the advantage the ZX-10R Ninja has at Assen. It’s also worth noting that Kawasaki has earned three of four poles so far this season.“We are definitely getting there now. It feels that this pole has been a long time coming but I am very happy. In Aragon we had a small indication that the Ninja ZX-10R and myself are starting to work as one package again,” Sykes says.“In the first two rounds the bike and myself were sometimes working in two different directions, but we are both working in the same direction now. I know we can still improve the Ninja underneath me but as long as we can keep working in this direction, I am happy. A lot of credit has to go to my crew chief Marcel and the boys in the garage. We have had the mechanics working hard and making a lot of changes. We have definitely got the speed and now I want that speed for 20 more laps here.”The top-eight riders were all within a second of each other. Heading up row two is the man who led Friday’s free practice sessions, Aruba.it Racing-Ducati Superbike Team’s Chaz Davies.Joining Davies on row two is the 2014 World Supersport Champion, Pata Honda World Superbike’s Michael van der Mark, and Voltcom Crescent Suzui’s Alex Lowes.Row three will consists of Aruba.it Racing-Ducati Superbike Team’s Xavier Fores, who is substituting for the injured Davide Giuglianoa, and Aprilia Racing Team’s Jordi Torres.As for the American-based Team Hero EBR team, which despite the EBR shutdown will remain in WSBK, Niccolo Canepa qualified 17th, and Larry Pegram 22nd.For more, visit 2015 Assen World Superbike preview.
This week we ride two genre-departing motorcycles from the established American manufacturers. Jess McKinley gives us his thoughts on the all new Harley-Davidson Pan America Special, and Ron Lieback gives his on Indian’s latest version of the FTR 1200 S.