Donington (UK), 12 May 2012 – Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) went over 0.3 seconds faster than the existing track best in the third Superpole run, with a 1 minute 27.716 second lap that gave him his fourth Tissot-Superpole win of 2012. Close behind was his fellow Englishman Leon Haslam (BMW Motorrad Motorsport), the only other rider inside the 1’27 bracket.
Haslam’s team-mate Marco Melandri was third and the front row for tomorrow’s races was completed by Max Biaggi (Aprilia Racing), who came good after some challenging times in earlier practice sessions. Sylvain Guintoli (Team Effenbert-Liberty Racing) earned a top five place on the grid, with Jonathan Rea (Honda World Superbike Team) sixth.
Tom Sykes: “It’s always nice to tick these things like Superpole wins off my check list, but having said that I wasn’t expecting to be so fast. I was missing a bit of feeling with the ZX-10R but we kept working in Superpole 1 and 2, making some very small changes and finally in Superpole 3 those changes made all the difference. I’m confident with the race set-up, and hopefully we can have some good consistent weather and put on a good show for spectators. It was also nice to get the pole award from Roger Burnett, the first-ever WSB poleman; 25 years on it’s happened to me!”
Leon Haslam: “We had similar problems to Marco, the race tyres were working really good and the Qs were struggling with a bit of chatter but had a lot of grip. We decided to use a Q right at the end, but I made a big mistake and it was really close between me and Tom. He keeps getting these pole positions, but I’m very happy to be on the front row and I’m sure it’ll be a close race tomorrow.”
Marco Melandri: “I’m very happy because the team and the BMW factory have made a good job and to be on the front row in dry qualifying here after Monza is very important for us. I was happy about my race pace but wasn’t sure about my qualifying lap, but right from Superpole 1 I got a very good feeling. I was able to keep two qualifying tyres for the last Superpole but unfortunately had a bit of chattering with the first and the second didn’t work so well. Now I hope to be with Leon on the podium.”
Leon Camier (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) scored seventh place on the grid and will be joined on the second row by Jakub Smrz (Liberty Racing Team Effenbert Ducati). 2011 world champion Carlos Checa (Althea Racing Ducati) will start Sunday’s race from the third row, in ninth place.
Ayrton Badovini (BMW Motorrad Italia Gold Bet) fell earlier today but bounced back to finish tenth, alongside his team-mate Michel Fabrizio, who was 11th. A difficult weekend of qualifying for Eugene Laverty culminated in 12th place in Superpole. Another Aprilia rider, Chaz Davies (ParkinGO MTC Aprilia), went 16th in qualifying, while new Kawasaki Racing Team rider Loris Baz was 18th.
Times: 1. Sykes T. (GBR) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1′27.716; 2. Haslam L. (GBR) BMW S1000 RR 1′27.864; 3. Melandri M. (ITA) BMW S1000 RR 1′28.177; 4. Biaggi M. (ITA) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1′28.340; 5. Guintoli S. (FRA) Ducati 1098R 1′28.420; 6. Rea J. (GBR) Honda CBR1000RR 1′28.546; 7. Camier L. (GBR) Suzuki GSX-R1000 1′28.551; 8. Smrz J. (CZE) Ducati 1098R 1′28.785; 9. Checa C. (ESP) Ducati 1098R 1′28.497; 10. Badovini A. (ITA) BMW S1000 RR 1′28.614; 11. Fabrizio M. (ITA) BMW S1000 RR 1′28.683; 12. Laverty E. (IRL) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1′29.032; 13. Giugliano D. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 1′29.236; 14. Canepa N. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 1′29.319; 15. Berger M. (FRA) Ducati 1098R 1′29.371; 16. Davies C. (GBR) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1′29.493; etc.
Monza winner Jules Cluzel (PTR Honda) posted the fastest time in the second qualifying session to head the combined time sheets and take his first ever WSS pole with a 1 minute 30.931 seconds lap. This is the new best lap time in this class. Sam Lowes (Bogdanka PTR Honda) fell early in the session and was unable to improve on his first day best and thus he finishes second in the overall rankings. Broc Parkes (Ten Kate Racing Products Honda) made it a 1-2-3 for Honda riders, with Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki DeltaFin Lorenzini) going fourth. Wildcard Glen Richards (Smiths Gloucester Triumph) was a strong top five rider, while Sheridan Morais (Kawasaki DeltaFin Lorenzini) posted a top six place. Fabien Foret (Intermoto Step Racing) suffered a bang on the head in a practice crash but still went out and improved his best lap to go tenth on the grid.
Times: 1. Cluzel J. (FRA) Honda CBR600RR 1′30.931; 2. Lowes S. (GBR) Honda CBR600RR 1′31.155; 3. Parkes B. (AUS) Honda CBR600RR 1′31.320; 4. Sofuoglu K. (TUR) Kawasaki ZX-6R 1′31.338; 5. Richards G. (AUS) Triumph Daytona 675 1′31.496; 6. Morais S. (RSA) Kawasaki ZX-6R 1′31.615; 7. McConnell B. (AUS) Triumph Daytona 675 1′31.668; 8. Roccoli M. (ITA) Yamaha YZF R6 1′32.005; etc.