Photography by Gold & Goose
Kawasaki’s Tom Sykes topped the timing charts Friday at Imola in the first qualifying session for this weekend’s World Superbike event. Sykes turned a time of 1:47.218, edging out fellow Brit Jonathan Rea (1:47.33) on the factory Pata Honda.
Sykes was Superpole winner at Imola last year, and is looking for his first victory at the Italian circuit. Sykes, who posted his first career pole at Imola in 2010, is the only rider in history to score two World Superbike poles in Imola (all the other polesitters scored pole only once here) and he is also the only Kawasaki rider to ever earn a podium finish in Imola.
The World Superbike qualifying record set by Sykes last year is 1:46.748.
Sykes was consistently fast most of the session, being the first rider in the session in the 47s and holding P1 all the way to the end after turning that lap. He bettered his time throughout, turning his top time in with about six minutes to go.
Rea set his best mark on the final lap of the session.
Michel Fabrizio turned in a solid qualifying session running third fastest on the Red Devils Roma Aprilia. The Italian rider was a pole winner at Imola in 2009 and went on to win Race 2 that year. Ayrton Badovini was fourth fastest, on the Team Ducati Alstare entry making it an overall strong showing for two Italians who have not generally been near the top of the charts this season.
Series leader Sylvain Guintoli was seventh fastest on Friday.
Defending race winner Carlos Checa (who swept the doubleheader at Imola last year) was 12th on Friday. Checa is the undisputed king of the Imola track, with five wins out of eight races run: the closest rivals are Ruben Xaus and Regis Laconi, with three each, while among the current riders, only Fabrizio and Rea won here once. Carlos scored the double in 2010 and 2012, finishing third in race one in 2011 and winning race two: this makes for an active podium streak of six races on the Santerno track with five wins and one third place.
Superpole runs tomorrow and can be viewed on Bein Sport starting at 8:45 am Eastern.
Imola - FIM Superbike World Championship - Qualifying 1
1. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1'47.218
2. Jonathan Rea (Pata Honda World Superbike) Honda CBR1000RR 1'47.330
3. Michel Fabrizio (Red Devils Roma) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1'47.619
4. Ayrton Badovini (Team Ducati Alstare) Ducati 1199 Panigale R 1'47.674
5. Davide Giugliano (Althea Racing) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1'47.704
6. Marco Melandri (BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK) BMW S1000 RR 1'47.788
7. Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia Racing Team) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1'47.878
8. Leon Camier (Fixi Crescent Suzuki) Suzuki GSX-R1000 1'48.147
9. Eugene Laverty (Aprilia Racing Team) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1'48.316
10. Loris Baz (Kawasaki Racing Team) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1'48.668
11. Chaz Davies (BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK) BMW S1000 RR 1'48.697
12. Carlos Checa (Team Ducati Alstare) Ducati 1199 Panigale R 1'48.721
13. Leon Haslam (Pata Honda World Superbike) Honda CBR1000RR 1'48.725
14. Jules Cluzel (Fixi Crescent Suzuki) Suzuki GSX-R1000 1'49.150
15. Max Neukirchner (MR-Racing) Ducati 1199 Panigale R 1'49.194
16. Federico Sandi (Team Pedercini) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1'49.987
17. Noriyuki Haga (Grillini Dentalmatic SBK) BMW S1000 RR 1'51.680
18. Vittorio Iannuzzo (Grillini Dentalmatic SBK) BMW S1000 RR 1'52.268
19. Alexander Lundh (Team Pedercini) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1'52.471