Photography by Gold & Goose
Tom Sykes, caught in an unguarded moment by TV cameras, summed up what most riders felt about the decision by World Superbike officials to declare a wet Superpole session. “F**king stupid!” Sykes could be heard telling his crew chief as he made his way back to his pit box.
Sykes had just set a new Superbike track record and took the pole, but officials wiped it all out when a light rain began to fall in certain sections of the track and they declared SP3 would be restarted as wet session.
The point of contention was whether or not the red flag was thrown before the session was halfway through, which meant they could have declared it a complete session.
Regardless, it was a happy ending for Silverstone fans when Aprilia factory rider Eugene Laverty came through on the very last lap, when the track had finally just dried, to win his first career Superpole with a time of 2:04.730.
Laverty will be joined on the front row by Carlos Checa and Jonathan Rea.
Jules Cluzel, who won last year’s Supersport race at Silverstone, topped SP1. Marco Melandri’s BMW suffered a mechanical in that session putting him out of Superpole. Loris Baz came through to top SP2, but then came SP3 and Sykes again showed his superior qualifying speed.
Then the red flag with a light rain. It was determined that SP3 would start again and be a wet 20 minute session. On the restart Baz managed to get a 2:05.105 on a still mainly dry track before rain started coming down more broadly and all the riders exited the track, several not even completing a lap.
The clock on the session was ticking and it appeared Baz’ time would place him on pole, but then with just a few minutes to go winds picked up, the sun came out and the track quickly dried. Riders and teams scrambled to go out for the final few minutes. The first lap was dicey as the track was still not completely dry, but on the final lap nearly everyone had a dry enough track to make a good run at Superpole and it was Laverty who came through topping the charts.
“I have my first pole at long last,” said a relieved Laverty. “It’s like a big weight off my shoulders because I’ve been waiting so long. This is my third year in World Superbikes and I’ve been on so many front rows, but never the pole position. I got lucky that time. Maybe if Superpole had run its course without the red flag, I was only going to be on the second row, so a little bit of luck and I got there.”
Silverstone - FIM Superbike World Championship - Superpole 3
1. Eugene Laverty (Aprilia Racing Team) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 2'04.730
2. Carlos Checa (Team Ducati Alstare) Ducati 1199 Panigale R 2'04.949
3. Jonathan Rea (Pata Honda World Superbike) Honda CBR1000RR 2'05.078
4. Loris Baz (Kawasaki Racing Team) Kawasaki ZX-10R 2'05.105
5. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) Kawasaki ZX-10R 2'05.949
6. Chaz Davies (BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK) BMW S1000 RR 2'06.369
7. Leon Camier (Fixi Crescent Suzuki) Suzuki GSX-R1000 2'06.775
8. Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia Racing Team) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 2'04.358
9. Davide Giugliano (Althea Racing) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 2'05.003
10. Jules Cluzel (Fixi Crescent Suzuki) Suzuki GSX-R1000 2'05.011
11. Max Neukirchner (MR-Racing) Ducati 1199 Panigale R 2'05.492
12. Leon Haslam (Pata Honda World Superbike) Honda CBR1000RR 2'05.573
13. Ayrton Badovini (Team Ducati Alstare) Ducati 1199 Panigale R 2'05.492
14. Michel Fabrizio (Red Devils Roma) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 2'05.593
15. Marco Melandri (BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK) BMW S1000 RR 2'13.317
16. Mark Aitchison (Team Pedercini) Kawasaki ZX-10R 2'07.743
17. Federico Sandi (Team Pedercini) Kawasaki ZX-10R 2'08.106
18. Vittorio Iannuzzo (Grillini Dentalmatic SBK) BMW S1000 RR 2'09.543