So Far It’s Sykes!

Cycle News Staff | February 24, 2012

Kawasaki’s Tom Sykes blitzed to a best of 1:31.323 today at Phillip Island, a lap that put the Brit on provisional pole position heading into this afternoon’s first World Superbike Superpole session of the year in Australia.

Sykes’ best was over half a second better than Jonathan Rea’s leading time from yesterday’s first qualifier with the Brit moving up from seventh yesterday to the top spot prior to Superpole.

Sykes bested Aprilia’s Max Biaggi, the Italian just .154 of a second behind the Kawasaki.

Defending World Champion Carlos Checa ended up third, narrowly ahead of another Ducati – this one ridden by Czech Jakub Smrz.

Smrz’ teammate Sylvain Guintoli made a big improvement from yesterday to end up fifth.

Another big improver was Leon Camier, the Suzuki rider jumping all the way to sixth in his debut on the Crescent Fix GSX-R1000.

Nicco Canepa continued to impress, putting his Red Devils Roma Ducati seventh – just .006 of a second ahead of yesterday’s fast man Rea. Rea was won of the few riders in the Superbike class who went slower today than yesterday.

Maxime Berger and Michel Fabrizio – the fastest BMW in the session – rounded out the top 10, respectively, heading into Superpole.

Eugene Laverty was the first of the injured riders, the Aprilia man ending up 11th and just ahead of his BMW’s Leon Haslam, the two hobbled riders making it into Superpole.

Haslam, who had surgery this week to mend a broken lower leg, was remarkably ahead of his factory BMW teammate Marco Melandri, the Italian ending up 13th, but also making it into Superpole.

Hiroshi Aoyoma failed to make it into Superpole in his World Superbike debut on the factory Honda. The Japanese rider ended up 17th.

Saturday Qualfying
1. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) 1:31.323
2. Max Biaggi (Aprilia) 1:31.477
3. Carlos Checa (Ducati) 1:31.621
4. Jakub Smrz (Ducati) 1:31.783
5. Sylvain Guintoli (Ducati) 1:31.832
6. Leon Camier (Suzuki) 1:31.904
7. Nicco Canepa (Ducati) 1:31.953
8. Jonathan Rea (Honda) 1:31.959
9. Maxime Berger (Ducati) 1:31.966
10. Michel Fabrizio (BMW) 1:32.068