Photography by Gold & Goose
Kawasaki’s Tom Sykes scored a mild surprise by running to the top of Tissot Superpole at the second round of the Eni FIM Superbike World Championship at Motorland Aragon on Saturday. Sykes clocked in a weekend best 1:56.339 on his factory Kawasaki ZX-10R to earn the pole for Sunday’s races. It marked the first pole of the season for Sykes, his 12th-career pole.
While Sykes is known as an excellent qualifier, his Aragon performance was at least a mild surprise since Aprilia’s Eugene Laverty had been fast all weekend and was the favorite to win Superpole.
In Superpole 2 Laverty was the first rider to break into the 56s and looked to be the man to beat. In the final Superpole 3 session however Laverty was on his best lap when Kawasaki’s Loris Baz made a mistake right in front of the Aprilia rider ruining his drive.
That opened the door for Sykes to win the pole; Laverty had to settle for second with a 1:56.638. BMW’s Chaz Davies made it three different manufacturers on the front row with his time 1:56.845. Davies was the last rider in the 56-second bracket.
It marked the second pole at Aragon for Sykes and he earned a new qualifying track record. He won last year’s Superpole at the Spanish circuit with a time of 1:56.552.
In Superpole 2 there were some dramatics. Marco Melandri, a two-time Aragon race winner and 2010 Superpole winner at the circuit, barely made it into the final Superpole 3 session. He took the second session’s checkered flag on the bubble in ninth place with Carlos Checa on a hot lap. Had Checa bettered Melandri’s time it would have been a huge upset to have the factory BMW rider watching Superpole from the sidelines. But the still recovering Checa (who was hurt in round one) couldn’t quite pull it off and Melandri made it into the final session where he qualified a disappointing eighth.
It was confirmed that FIXI Crescent Suzuki’s Leon Camier suffered a knee injury in Friday’s session that will prevent him from racing this weekend.
Tissot Superpole Results from Aragon – April 13, 2013
1. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1'56.339
2. Eugene Laverty (Aprilia Racing Team) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1'56.638
3. Chaz Davies (BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK) BMW S1000 RR 1'56.845
4. Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia Racing Team) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1'57.486
5. Jules Cluzel (Fixi Crescent Suzuki) Suzuki GSX-R1000 1'57.540
6. Loris Baz (Kawasaki Racing Team) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1'57.869
7. Davide Giugliano (Althea Racing) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1'57.975
8. Marco Melandri (BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK) BMW S1000 RR 1'58.268
9. Jonathan Rea (Pata Honda World Superbike) Honda CBR1000RR 2'01.613
10. Carlos Checa (Team Ducati Alstare) Ducati 1199 Panigale R 1'58.326
11. Leon Haslam (Pata Honda World Superbike) Honda CBR1000RR 1'58.329
12. Max Neukirchner (MR-Racing) Ducati 1199 Panigale R 1'59.993
13. Ayrton Badovini (Team Ducati Alstare) Ducati 1199 Panigale R 1'59.475
14. Michel Fabrizio (Red Devils Roma) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1'59.478
15. Alexander Lundh (Team Pedercini) Kawasaki ZX-10R 2'01.029
16. Leon Camier (Fixi Crescent Suzuki) Suzuki GSX-R1000 1'59.379
17. Federico Sandi (Team Pedercini) Kawasaki ZX-10R 2'00.979
18. Ivan Clementi (HTM Racing) BMW S1000 RR 2'02.140
19. Mark Aitchison (Team Effenbert Liberty Racing) Ducati 1098R 2'02.554
20. Vittorio Iannuzzo (Grillini Dentalmatic SBK) BMW S1000 RR 2'03.201