Sykes re-writes record books at Donington WSBK

Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) has taken the fifth Tissot Superpole of the season at the Donington Park Circuit with a lap time of 1’27.378. Scoring his 15th career pole position the Huddersfield born rider equals Colin Edwards at sixth all-time for Superpole wins.

An irony of fate for second place Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia Racing Team), who matched exactly the previous record set last year by Sykes (1’27.716) to secure a front row start along with team-mate Eugene Laverty.

Tom Sykes: “I had a small crash yesterday on a damp section of the track but the boys did a really good job and gave me a great Ninja ZX-10R to ride today. We have worked hard on the race set-up here not just in qualifying. There are a number of factors why I can do well in Superpole but I have always enjoyed riding by myself on the best package we have. Combine that with the ‘time-trial’ element of Superpole and I just race myself and the tarmac. The refreshing thing is that the Ninja ZX-10R is working well over race distance. We should have a fairly consistent package for tomorrow’s races. That is the most important thing.”


After coming close to elimination in Superpole 2, Pata Honda World Superbike’s Jonathan Rea (above) progressed to an outstanding fourth place, a great result for the Ulsterman on the track that saw him winning the latest WSBK race held on the Leicester circuit.

Encouraging performance for Leon Camier (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) who was fifth at the chequered flag to precede works BMW riders Marco Melandri and Chaz Davies, Davide Giugliano (Althea Racing Aprilia) and Niccolò Canepa. The One Event rider, current Championship leader in the FIM Superstock 1000 Cup, was the only one entry of the Team Ducati Alstare to qualify for Superpole 3, finishing ninth.

Works BMW rider Chaz Davies rode his way up to sixth place in the final stages after an apparently hard time to find the right balance for his BMW S 1000 RR on the Leicester Track. The Welshman was followed by Italy’s Davide Giugliano (Althea Racing Aprilia) and Jonathan Rea (Pata Honda World Superbike). Ulsterman’s team mate Leon Haslam was again on track this morning to secure a top-15 finish and qualified for Superpole with the last slot available.

Spaniard Carlos Checa ended his charge to the front rows in Superpole 2 and will start from 10th place on the grid, while Ayrton Badovini was 14th behind local man Leon Haslam (Pata Honda World Superbike), who was cleared to ride just before Free Practice 1 on Friday morning.

Jonathan Rea: “I guess today was OK and I’m happy enough to be fourth and to be in the top two rows here. We started the weekend a little on and off and sluggish with the settings, and it really didn’t help with Friday morning being wet and the second session not being perfect. So we’ve really only made progress between the two sessions today and I think we haven’t shown our full potential yet. I know I’m struggling a little bit on the bike in some areas and we need to iron that out first but I was quite happy with the lap time we set in Superpole 3 on a race tyre.”

Leon Camier: “I’m a little bit frustrated because the normal strengths that we have are holding me back a bit this weekend. That front-end feeling on turning-in and then braking just isn’t quite there and this is usually a strong point for us, so we need to work on that to get it right tomorrow. Overall everything feels ok and if we can get it that little bit better should be a lot stronger for the races. It’s going to be tough tomorrow, because so many guys are doing similar lap-times and although it will be good to start nearer the front, as I said it will be difficult, so we’ll just have to get involved with the front group and see what happens.”

Marco Melandri (BMW Motorrad GoldBet)

Marco Melandri: “I’m quite satisfied. Tomorrow I will start from the second row, which is not bad here at Donington. But I need to have a good start in order to keep in contact with the front runners. In Superpole we unfortunately could not use the additional grip that the qualifying tyres offer. It was much better with the race tyres. With them, I constantly improved and did a very good lap time. I am still looking for some more grip on the rear but we have some ideas how to improve.”

Chaz Davies: “We are improving, but not quite enough unfortunately. But it is actually a better grid position than I have had in the last few races. I think we made a good step forward regarding the settings and now I feel like I have a bike which could be reasonably competitive tomorrow. We are getting closer. But yesterday’s rain has hurt us a little bit. It has taken us too long to find the set-up because of the bad weather on Friday – as it already was the case at the last two races. I don’t have experience with the RR on this circuit so we have to just work a little bit more than the guys who are familiar with their bikes here. Anyway, it is all a learning process and we will see what we can put into play tomorrow.”

Sam Lowes (Yakhnich Motorsport Yamaha) keeps his outstanding momentum up by scoring his ninth career pole position, the third in a row for the current World Supersport Championship leader. The local rider rode to an amazing new Best Lap for Donington Park in 1’30.276, improving by 0.6 seconds the time set in this morning’s Free Practice 2.

Sam Lowes (Yakhnich Motorsport Yamaha) scores his ninth pole position at Donington Park Circuit.

Kenan Sofuoglu (Mahi Racing Team India) closed the gap to the front by lapping under the 1’31 seconds, to further improve his already competitive time. The Turkish rider will start from second place on the grid ahead of One Event rider and current British Supersport Champion Glen Richards (Smiths Triumph Team), who had a spectacular collision in the closing stages with rookie Alex Schacht (Racing Team Toth Honda) with both riders able to walk away uninjured. Encouraging fourth for Frenchman Florian Marino (Intermoto Ponyexpres Kawasaki), substitute for injured David Salom, who kept himself with the front runners after a really positive performance in the previous round.

Following his maiden World Supersport podium at Monza, Lorenzo Zanetti (Pata Honda World Supersport) will move off from the fifth grid slot, flanked by Jack Kennedy (Rivamoto Honda), Christian Iddon (ParkinGo MV Agusta Corse) and Sheridan Morais (PTR Honda).

WSBK Results after Superpole 3
1. Tom Sykes GBR Kawasaki Racing ZX-10R 1m 27.378s 
2. Sylvain Guintoli FRA Aprilia Racing RSV4 1m 27.716s
3. Eugene Laverty IRL Aprilia Racing RSV4 1m 28.014s 
4. Jonathan Rea GBR Pata Honda CBR1000RR 1m 28.139s
5. Leon Camier GBR Fixi Crescent Suzuki GSX-R1000 1m 28.252s
6. Marco Melandri ITA BMW GoldBet S1000RR HP4 1m 28.280s
7. Chaz Davies GBR BMW GoldBet S1000RR HP4 1m 28.644s
8. Davide Giugliano ITA Althea Aprilia RSV4 1m 28.779s
9. Niccolo Canepa ITA Alstare Ducati 1199 R 1m 29.318s
10. Carlos Checa ESP Alstare Ducati 1199 R 1m 28.454s
11. Jules Cluzel FRA Fixi Crescent Suzuki GSX-R1000 1m 28.844s
12. Loris Baz FRA Kawasaki Racing ZX-10R 1m 28.850s
13. Leon Haslam GBR Pata Honda CBR1000RR 1m 29.172s
14. Ayrton Badovini ITA Alstare Ducati 1199 R 1m 29.211s
15. Michel Fabrizio ITA Red Devils Roma Aprilia RSV4 1m 29.214s
Did not progress to Superpole
16. Max Neukirchner GER MR Ducati 1199 R 1m 30.817s 
17. Federico Sandi ITA Pedercini Kawasaki ZX-10R 1m 32.010s 
18. Alexander Lundh SWE Pedercini Kawasaki ZX-10R 1m 32.145s
19. Vittorio Iannuzzo ITA Grillini Dentalmatic BMW S1000RR 1m 33.141s

Donington Park official WSBK lap records
Best lap: Tom Sykes GBR Kawasaki Racing ZX-10R 1m 27.378 (2013)
Race lap record: Carlos Checa ESP Althea Ducati 1098R 1m 28.988s (2011)

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