ASSEN, The Netherlands – The top-15 riders from World Superbike qualifying faced the challenge of Tissot-Superpole on Saturday to secure the best positioning on the grid for Sunday’s two races at the iconic Assen’s TT Circuit.
Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) got his 13th pole start of his career, the second in 2013, courtesy of an outstanding 1:35.043. The British rider was not fully satisfied with his achievement and tried, with no success, to further improve Jonathan Rea’s best lap from 2010.
“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,” Sykes said. “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 tire 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.”
Pata Honda World Superbike rider Rea, who got four wins out of the last six races at Assen, was second and finally able to turn over a new leaf on his difficult start of the season.
“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,” Rea admitted. “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.
“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.”
Eugene Laverty (Aprilia Racing Team) took the last slot of the first row and preceded his team mate Sylvain Guintoli, with Loris Baz (Kawasaki Racing Team) and Davide Giugliano (Althea Racing Aprilia) to follow.
Marco Melandri (BMW Motorrad GoldBet) ended up in seventh place and was again unable to get a spot in the first two rows (the Italian rider never managed so far in 2013 to get a front row start). Carlos Checa (Team Ducati Alstare) finished eighth ahead of Michel Fabrizio (Red Devils Roma Aprilia). The Spanish rider was 0.3 seconds slower in the end than in Superpole 2 (he would have been fifth with his SP2 lap-time).
It was a difficult Superpole for Aragon double winner Chaz Davies (BMW Motorrad GoldBet), who will move off Sunday from 13th place on the grid. The Welshman was kicked out of the top-12 in the closing stages of Superpole 1 by Jules Cluzel (FIXI Crescent Suzuki, 10th at the end).
Sam Lowes (Yakhnich Motorsport Yamaha) got his seventh career pole position at Assen on Saturday with an astonishing 1:38.375 lap-time in World Supersport qualifying. The young Brit proved once again to be an excellent qualifier and, despite a still injured left hand and wrist, was able to precede the defending Champion Kenan Sofuoglu (Mahi Racing Team India Kawasaki) by 0.643 seconds.
Second Mahi Racing rider and current Championship leader Fabien Foret, after sitting out Friday’s free practice and qualifying because of the wet track conditions, made his way up to third place ahead of Irishman Jack Kennedy (Rivamoto Honda) and Italian Roberto Rolfo, in the sharp end of the action onboard his ParkinGO MV Agusta Corse machine.
Eddi La Marra (Barni Racing Team Ducati) secured his first pole position of the season – the third of his career in STK1000 – with a last lap effort which placed him 0.015 ahead of team mate Niccolò Canepa. Reigning and defending champion Sylvain Barrier (BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK Team) completes the front row for Sunday’s race and was the last rider in the timesheets to lap within the 1:38 bracket.
Gauthier Duwelz (MTM Racing Team Yamaha) keeps full points lead in the standings after a close battle with his team mate Adrian Nestorovic to get on the top step of the podium in Saturday’s Superstock 600 European Championship Race at Assen. The young Belgian got the inside of Nestorovic to make a successful move entering the ‘Geert Timmer’, on the final lap, and rode the last meters ahead of him to cross the line in first place.
The second Pole Position of the PATA European Junior Cup, powered by Honda was claimed by Frenchman Guillaume Raymond (Activebike) who snatched the top spot with his final lap.
World Superbike Tissot-Superpole
1. Sykes (Kawasaki) 1:35.043 average 172.040 km/h;
2. Rea (Honda) 1:35.639;
3. Laverty (Aprilia) 1:35.814;
4. Guintoli (Aprilia) 1:35.973;
5. Baz (Kawasaki) 1:36.166;
6. Giugliano (Aprilia) 1:36.326;
7. Melandri (BMW) 1:36.330;
8. Checa (Ducati) 1:36.438;
9. Fabrizio (Aprilia) 1:37.570;
10. Cluzel (Suzuki);
11. Badovini (Ducati);
12. Neukirchner (Ducati);
13. Davies (BMW);
14. Clementi (BMW);
15. Iannuzzo (BMW)