Sykes Three For Three With Assen Pole

Cycle News Staff | April 21, 2012

It’s fair to say that Kawasaki’s Tom Sykes has this qualifying thing down. For the third time in three rounds, Sykes will start from pole position in tomorrow’s two World Superbike races at the Circuit van Drenthe in Assen, Holland, the Brit having completely dominated Superpole today.

And this may have been his best performance thus far as he ended up over a second clear of Honda World Superbike Team’s Jonathan Rea, the Northern Irelander ending up second but well behind Sykes. Still, it was Rea’s best qualifying effort of 2012 and will mark his first front-row start of the season.

Superpole was held in two sessions, started with a damp racetrack and was declared wet – which mean it would be held in two 20 minute sessions. Team Effenbert Liberty Racing’s Sylvain Guintoli, the Frenchman who led Friday’s qualifying session, led the first session. Behind him came Crescent Fixi Suzuki’s John Hopkins and defending World Champion Carlos Checa.

Sykes ended Superpole 1 in seventh place, making the cut through to the second session where he would shine, lapping at a best of 1:35.399 to easily better Rea’s 1:36.432 and earn the fifth World Superbike pole position of his career.

Liberty Racing Team Effenbert’s Jakub Smrz put his Ducati 1098R third on the front row for tomorrow’s races, the Czech rider posting a 1:35.566 to do so. His teammate Guintoli slipped down to fourth in the final session, but that keeps the Frenchman on the front row.

Row two will be led by Checa, the Althea Racing man 1.7 seconds off Sykes pace in Superpole. He’ll be joined on the second row by BMW Motorrad Italia’s Michel Fabrizio, BMW factory man Leon Haslam and Hopkins.

The third row will be held by BMW’s Marco Melandri with David Salom, Chaz Davies and Leon Camier set to join him there. Camier had a big crash in the morning free practice session, keeping his team busy as the bike was badly damaged.

Brett McCormick ended up 13th on the Liberty Racing Team Effenbert Ducati, the Canadian besting the likes of Eugene Laverty, who crashed at the end of the first Superpole session, and Max Biaggi, the latter not making it through to Superpole and ending up 17th on the grid for tomorrow.

Final Qualifying
1. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) 1:35.399
2. Jonathan Rea (Honda) 1:36.432
3. Jakub Smrz (Ducati) 1:36.566
4. Sylvain Guintoli (Suzuki) 1:36.875
5. Carlos Checa (Ducati) 1:37.156
6. Michel Fabrizio (BMW) 1:37.311
7. Leon Haslam (BMW) 1:37.592
8. John Hopkins (Suzuki) 1:37.913
9. Marco Melandri (BMW) 1:40.516
10. David Salom (Kawasaki) 1:40.523