PORTIMAO, Portugal – Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) will start the eighth round’s two World Superbike races from the front of the grid after winning Saturday afternoon’s Tissot-Superpole at a very hot and sunny Portimao circuit, his third in a row at the Portuguese track and 22nd Pole Position so far in his WSBK career.
“The Ninja ZX-10R is working well after we started quite steadily this weekend,” Sykes said. “We made some small changes to the bike every session and now I feel more comfortable on it. On the race tire I was able to feel more comfortable and in Superpole, with the qualifying tire, I just made it to the apexes a little bit easier.
“I am happy, especially after the changes we made today. I feel more comfortable and confident for the races tomorrow but I expect two difficult races. There are a lot of riders who are capable of running at the front but we will do the best we can.”
A thrilling Superpole 1 saw David Salom (Kawasaki Racing Team) and Sylvain Barrier (BMW Motorrad Italia Superbike Team) progress to join the already seeded top 10 from the combined free practice sessions with the 12 riders then doing battle for the final 15-minute grid deciding shoot-out.
The opening session wasn’t without incident as after four minutes the red flags came out as the marshals tended to Claudio Corti (MV Agusta Reparto Corse), who had fallen on the rollercoaster section of the circuit. He was taken to the medical centre for further checks.
Toni Elias (Red Devils Roma Aprilia) also failed to record a time as his Aprilia developed a technical problem on his out lap.
In the final 15-minute Superpole 2, the times at the top changed almost every time a rider recorded a time but at the flag and with less than a second covering the top nine, Sykes emerged as the fastest, ahead of Jonathan Rea (Pata Honda World Superbike Team) and Chaz Davies (Ducati Superbike Team), who will join him on row one on Sunday.
Row two will see Marco Melandri (Aprilia Racing Team), Loris Baz (Kawasaki Racing Team) and other factory Aprilia rider Sylvain Guintoli, who recovered from a high speed FP4 crash to claim sixth.
In the battle of the EVO riders, Barrier will start 10th and Salom 12th.
Alex Lowes (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki) crashed in the final minute of the session and will therefore start 11th on Sunday.
Kenan Sofuoglu grabbed the World Supersport pole position in the final 10 minutes of Saturday’s qualifying session at Portimao in Portugal despite a late charge from series leader Michael van der Mark, who will start second.
Jules Cluzel (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) improved as the session progressed eventually ensuring the final front row spot in third.
Jack Kennedy will start fourth after holding provisional pole for the majority of the session, the Irishman showing the form that we know he is capable of aboard his CIA Insurance Honda.
He will be joined on the second row by his CIA Insurance Honda team mate Raffaele De Rosa and Pata Honda’s Lorenzo Zanetti who were fifth and sixth respectively.
Podium finisher last time out PJ Jacobsen (Kawasaki Intermoto Ponyexpres) will start eighth despite falling in the final minute of the session.
Lorenzo Savadori (Team Pedercini Kawasaki) is the pole sitter for Sunday’s 14-lap FIM Superstock 1000 Cup race at Portimao after setting a 1:46.802s lap-time in the sole qualifying session for the series. The Italian rider edged points leader Leandro Mercado (Barni Racing Team Ducati) and Kyle Smith (Agro-On Wil Racedays Honda), second and third respectively, with the Englishman getting his first front row start of his rookie STK1000 year.
Marco Faccani (San Carlo Team Italia) won his fourth European Superstock 600cc race after dominating once again.
Faccani overtook poleman Wayne Tessels (Wayne’s Racing Team) before coming under intense race long pressure from the Dutchman along with Misano second place rider Federico Caricasulo (Evan Bros Racing Team).
At the flag it was championship leader Faccani who claimed his fourth win of the year and with it takes a healthy points lead into the summer break.
Less than 0.1s separated second from third with Tessels coming home ahead of Caricasulo in the run to the line.
Javier Orellana (Europ Food S.L.) secured the pole position for Sunday’s Pata European Junior Cup, powered by Honda, 10-lap race, courtesy of the 2:03.935s lap-time set in the second qualifying session held on Saturday. The young Spaniard, who is currently second in the standings, will be joined on the front row of the grid by compatriots Mika Perez (Cuna de Campeones) and points leader Augusto Fernandez (WIL Sport).
World Superbike Qualifying Times
1.Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) 1:42.484 (161.305km/h)
2. Jonathan Rea (Honda) 1:42.765
3. Chaz Davies (Ducati) 1:42.924
4. Marco Melandri (Aprilia) 1:43.038
5. Loris Baz (Kawasaki) 1:43.048
6. Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia) 1:43.076
7. Eugene Laverty (Suzuki) 1:43.245
8. Davide Giugliano (Ducati) 1:43.317
9. Leon Haslam (Honda) 1:43.475
10. Sylvan Barrier (BMW) 1:43.754
11. Alex Lowes (Suzuki) 1:43.840
12. David Salom (Kawasaki) 1:44.361
13. Ayrton Badovini (Bimota)
14. Niccolo Canepa (Ducati)
15. Christian Iddon (Bimota)
16. Sheridan Morais (Kawasaki)
17. Bryan Staring (Kawasaki)
18. Alessandro Andreozzi (Kawasaki)
19. Claudio Corti (MV Agusta)
20. Toni Elias (Aprilia)
–From the World SBK Press Office