Tom Sykes (above) posted his fifth Superpole win of the season in succession after a two-part ‘Wet’ Portimao Superpole and in doing so took a new track best lap of 1’41.360.
The Kawasaki Racing Team rider took pole by just a thousandth of a second over Eugene Laverty (Aprilia Racing Team). The same gap between the top-two riders in Superpole happened only once before, when Ben Spies snatched pole from Michel Fabrizio at Kyalami in 2009. The 1’41.360 set by the British rider means also a new Best Lap for the Portuguese track.
Jonathan Rea (Pata Honda World Superbike) completes the first row of the grid for tomorrow’s two races, matching his previous good performances from qualifying. Fourth place Marco Melandri (BMW Motorrad Goldbet), who went out firstly on race tyres, then switched to his second qualifying tyre, finished ahead of Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia Racing Team). Loris Baz (Kawasaki Racing Team) was finding the going tough but after good work from rider and team he moved from tenth in combined qualifying to sixth in Superpole.
An improving Carlos Checa (Team Ducati Alstare) was able to put up a good lap on board his 1199 Panigale R despite his left shoulder injury and will start from seventh on the grid. Having missed Monza and Donington Park, Checa admits his shoulder isn’t recovering as quickly as he had hoped.
Frenchman Jules Cluzel (FIXI Cluzel) was eighth 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.
“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 favour. 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!”
“You can’t get any closer to the pole than that! In any case I’m happy to be on the front row. I made a small mistake on my fast lap and I thought I had compromised my performance. It’s a shame for that thousandth of a second, but in any case we’re ready for the races tomorrow and that the weather conditions will be good.”
“I was happy enough to be on the front row, really, because we made a real backwards step in FP2, but we rectified it for Superpole. I’m looking forward to the races tomorrow and I think we can make another step in warm-up with the chassis. The bumps around here are just a little bit off-putting, especially through the fast bomb-hole section, so we’ll just tidy the bike up a little bit. I’ve got to find some speed in sector one as well but, other than that, we’re good to race.”
Final Qualifying Results, after Superpole
1 Tom Sykes 1’41.360 GBR KAWASAKI Kawasaki Racing Team
2 Eugene Laverty 1’41.361 IRL APRILIA Aprilia Racing Team
3 Jonathan Rea 1’41.787 GBR HONDA Pata Honda
4 Marco Melandri 1’42.115 ITA BMW BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK Team
5 Sylvain Guintoli 1’42.209 FRA APRILIA Aprilia Racing Team
6 Loris Baz 1’42.328 FRA KAWASAKI Kawasaki Racing Team
7 Carlos Checa 1’42.405 SPA DUCATI Team Ducati Alstare
8 Jules Cluzel 1’42.645 FRA SUZUKI Fixi Crescent Suzuki
9 Michel Fabrizio 1’43.032 ITA APRILIA Red Devils Roma
10 Ayrton Badovini 1’43.057 ITA DUCATI Team Ducati Alstare
11 Davide Giugliano 1’43.314 ITA APRILIA Althea Racing
12 Chaz Davies 1’43.463 GBR BMW BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK Team
13 Leon Camier 1’43.139 GBR SUZUKI Fixi Crescent Suzuki
14 Leon Haslam 1’43.522 GBR HONDA Pata Honda
15 Max Neukirchner 1’44.038 GER DUCATI MR-Racing
16 Vittorio Iannuzzo 1’45.208 ITA BMW Grillini DENTALMATIC SBK Team
17 Alexander Lundh 1’45.361 SWE KAWASAKI Pedercini Team
18 Ivan Clementi 1’45.607 ITA BMW HTM Racing
19 Federico Sandi 1’47.322 ITA KAWASAKI Pedercini Team
Yakhnich Motorsport Yamaha’s Sam Lowes continues his 2013 pole position streak by securing the top spot on the grid – for the fourth time in a row – after today’s Qualifying 2 at Portimao. The current Championship leader set a successful lap-time of 1’44.804 using race tyres, resulting the only rider able to lap below the 1’45 bracket. Kenan Sofuoglu (Mahi Racing Team India Kawasaki) will start tomorrow’s race from 2nd place, followed by Sheridan Morais (PTR Honda), team mate Fabien Foret and Andrea Antonelli (Team Goeleven Kawasaki).