Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) secured his third pole position of the season at the Portugal WSBK championships in Portimao ahead of Jonathan Rea )PATA Honda) and Chaz Davies (Ducati SBK).
After topping the combined free practice timing sheets this morning, Rea, 27, was in a confident mood going into Superpole to lap the 4.593km Portimao circuit in a time of 1m42.765s, 0.2s behind Sykes.
Tom Sykes: “The Ninja ZX-10R is working well after we started quite steadily this weekend. We made some small changes to the bike every session and now I feel more comfortable on it. On the race tyre I was able to feel more comfortable and in Superpole, with the qualifying tyre, I just made it to the apexes a little bit easier.
“The circuit is missing a little bit of grip and of course the high winds are not helping, especially on the final section, but it is costing everybody some time. 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.”
Jonathan Rea:”It was really windy for qualifying this afternoon and we made quite a big change to the set-up on the rear of the bike for Superpole after we’d compared data with Leon. It looked like he had a little bit more grip and it’s really good that he’s also on a good pace here this weekend because we can share data much better and I’m also learning some things from him.
We’ve made a lot of progress here compared to the last few races and I’m really enjoying riding my bike here. We’ve gone back to basics, to something we know, and it’s good to come to Portimao where we have a lot of data. I’m really excited about tomorrow’s races. We’ve done a lot of laps on old tyres so we’ll have to wait and see if all that hard work will pay off.”
The second row will be headed by Marco Melandri, (Aprilia Racing), Kawasaki’s Loris Baz and Melandri’s team-mate Sylvain Guintoli, who recovered from a high speed FP4 crash to claim sixth.
In the battle of the EVO riders, Sylvain Barrier will start 10th and David Salom 12th.
Alex Lowes crashed in the final minute of the session and will start 11th tomorrow.
1. Tom Sykes GBR Kawasaki Racing ZX-10R 1m 42.484s
2. Jonathan Rea GBR PATA Honda CBR1000RR 1m 42.765s
3. Chaz Davies GBR Ducati SBK 1199 Panigale R 1m 42.924s
4. Marco Melandri ITA Aprilia Racing RSV4 1m 43.038s
5. Loris Baz FRA Kawasaki Racing ZX-10R 1m 43.048s
6. Sylvain Guintoli FRA Aprilia Racing RSV4 1m 43.076s
7. Eugene Laverty IRL Voltcom Crescent Suzuki GSX-R1000 1m 43.245s
8. Davide Giugliano ITA Ducati SBK 1199 Panigale R 1m 43.317s
9. Leon Haslam GBR PATA Honda CBR1000RR 1m 43.648s
10. Sylvain Barrier FRA BMW Italia S1000RR 1m 43.754s (E)
11. Alex Lowes GBR Voltcom Crescent Suzuki GSX-R1000 1m 43.840s
12. David Salom ESP Kawasaki Racing ZX-10R 1m 44.361s (E)
Grid positions determined by SP1
13. Ayrton Badovini ITA Bimota Alstare BB3 1m 44.472s (E)
14. Niccolo Canepa ITA Althea Ducati 1199 Panigale R 1m 44.590s (E)
15. Christian Iddon GBR Bimota Alstare BB3 1m 44.971s (E)
16. Sheridan Morais RSA IRON BRAIN Kawasaki ZX-10R 1m 45.198s (E)
17. Bryan Staring AUS IRON BRAIN Kawasaki ZX-10R 1m 45.543s (E)
18. Alessandro Andreozzi ITA Pedercini Kawasaki ZX-10R 1m 45.805s (E)
19. Claudio Corti ITA MV Agusta RC F4RR No Time
20. Toni Elias ESP Red Devils Roma Aprilia RSV4 No Time
Grid positions determined by FP3
21. Riccardo Russo ITA Pedercini Kawasaki ZX-10R 1m 45.298s (E)
22. Jeremy Guarnoni FRA MRS Kawasaki ZX-10R 1m 45.342s (E)
23. Fabien Foret FRA MAHI Kawasaki ZX-10R 1m 45.405s (E)
24. Geoff May USA Team Hero EBR 1190RX 1m 46.971s
25. Gabor Rizmayer HUN Team Toth BMW S1000RR 1m 48.250s
26. Aaron Yates USA Team Hero EBR 1190RX 1m 48.468s
27. Peter Sebestyen HUN Team Toth BMW S1000RR 1m 48.734s (E)
Kawasaki’s Kenan Sofuoglu (pictured right), has grabbed the eighth World Supersport Pole Position in the final ten minutes of today’s qualifying session at Portimao 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 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.
WSS Qualifying (Top 10)
1. Kenan Sofuoglu TUR Mahi India Kawasaki ZX-6R 1m 45.924s
2. Michael van der Mark NED PATA Honda CBR600RR 1m 46.002s
3. Jules Cluzel FRA MV Agusta RC F3 675 1m 46.089s
4. Jack Kennedy IRL CIA Insurance Honda CBR600RR 1m 46.310s
5. Raffaele de Rosa ITA Core PTR Honda CBR600RR 1m 46.591s
6. Lorenzo Zanetti ITA PATA Honda CBR600RR 1m 46.632s
7. Kev Coghlan GBR DMC Panavto Yamaha YZF-R6 1m 46.644s
8. PJ Jacobsen USA Kawasaki Intermoto ZX-6R 1m 46.673s
9. Florian Marino FRA Kawasaki Intermoto ZX-6R 1m 46.726s
10. Massimo Roccoli ITA MV Agusta RC F3 675 1m 46.795s