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Jun 29, 2013

Sykes Wins Sixth Straight World Superbike Superpole, At Imola (Updated)

eni FIM Superbike World Championship: Tom Sykes (66) in action on his Kawasaki ZX-10R at Imola.
eni FIM Superbike World Championship
Imola, Italy
June 29, 2013
Final Qualifying Results, After Superpole (all on Pirelli tires):

From Superpole Knockout Session Three:

1. Tom SYKES, UK (Kawasaki ZX-10R), 1:45.981
2. Jonathan REA, UK (Honda CBR1000RR), 1:46.556
3. Davide GIUGLIANO, Italy (Aprilia RSV4 Factory), 1:46.713
4. Sylvain GUINTOLI, France (Aprilia RSV4 Factory), 1:46.857
5. Eugene LAVERTY, Ireland (Aprilia RSV4 Factory), 1:46.931
6. Leon CAMIER, UK (Suzuki GSX-R1000), 1:47.165
7. Marco MELANDRI, Italy (BMW S1000RR), 1:47.221
8. Ayrton BADOVINI, Italy (Ducati 1199 Panigale R), 1:47.396
9. Loris BAZ, France (Kawasaki ZX-10R), 1:48.668

From Superpole Knockout Session Two:

10. Chaz DAVIES, UK (BMW S1000RR), 1:47.736
11. Leon HASLAM, UK (Honda CBR1000RR), 1:48.096
12. Michel FABRIZIO, Italy (Aprilia RSV4 Factory), 1:47.619

From Superpole Knockout Session One:

13. Carlos CHECA, Spain (Ducati 1199 Panigale R), 1:48.446
14. Jules CLUZEL, France (Suzuki GSX-R1000), 1:48.636
15. Max NEUKIRCHNER, Germany (Ducati 1199 Panigale R), 1:48.927

The Rest of the Grid:

16. Federico SANDI, Italy (Kawasaki ZX-10R), 1:49.987
17. Vittorio IANNUZZO, Italy (BMW S1000RR), 1:50.787
18. Noriyuki HAGA, Japan (BMW S1000RR), 1:51.680
19. Alexander LUNDH, Sweden (Kawasaki ZX-10R), 1:52.232

More, from a press release issued by SBK Press Office:

Sykes makes it six in a row with Imola Tissot-Superpole win

Imola (Italy), Saturday 29 June 2013 – Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) has clocked another outstanding lap-time to grab his 6th consecutive Tissot-Superpole out of 7 held so far in 2013 – the 17th of his career – that brings the English rider up to 4th in the all-time pole position winners list, tied with former WSBK Champion Doug Polen. After seeing his time deleted as it was completed under a Red Flag situation, Sykes went back on track and broke into the 1'45s by setting the new best lap for the track in 1'45.981.

The Red Flag was waved following the heavy crash by Sykes' team mate Loriz Baz, who fell at the downhill section leading to Turn 18 while his ZX-10R tumbled the grass, and over the air-fence, to eventually land back on track, with a good amount of oil and fuel laid down.

Jonathan Rea (Pata Honda World Superbike) has again showed a very good synergy with his CBR1000RR at Imola by finishing second ahead of an impressive Davide Giugliano (Althea Racing Aprilia), who stormed to third place in his last quick-lap attempt. Works Aprilia riders Sylvain Guintoli and Eugene Laverty finished 4th and 5th respectively, followed by Leon Camier (FIXI Crescent Suzuki), Marco Melandri (BMW Motorrad GoldBet) and Ayrton Badovini (Team Ducati Alstare).

2011 World Superbike Champion Carlos Checa (Team Ducati Alstare) had a difficult time in Tissot-Superpole, as the Spaniard crashed in the opening stages of the first session at Turn 2. Checa will move off from the 13th slot on the grid in tomorrow's races.

Tissot-Superpole times: 1. Sykes (Kawasaki) 1'45.981 average 167.668 kph; 2. Rea (Honda) 1'46.556; 3. Giugliano (Aprilia) 1'46.713; 4. Guintoli (Aprilia) 1'46.857; 5. Laverty (Aprilia) 1'46.931; 6. Camier (Suzuki) 1'47.165; 7. Melandri (BMW) 1'47.221; 8. Badovini (Ducati) 1'47.396; 9. Baz (Kawasaki) 1'47.597; 10. Davies (BMW); 11. Haslam (Honda); 12. Fabrizio (Aprilia); 13. Checa (Ducati); 14. Cluzel (Suzuki); 15. Neukirchner (Ducati); 16. Sandi (Kawasaki); 17. Iannuzzo (BMW); 18. Haga (BMW); 19. Lundh (Kawasaki).

More, from a press release issued by Aprilia:



Imola, 29 June 2013 - The Aprilia Racing Team tacked a demanding Superpole today at Imola in preparation for the World SBK races tomorrow.
The end result was a double second row, both for Sylvain Guintoli (fourth best time) and for Eugene Laverty (fifth best) which does not entirely satisfy the riders, but leaves plenty of opportunity for them tomorrow.

The two Aprilia Racing standard bearers are key players in the championship. Guintoli leads the standings with 213 points and Laverty (who has already won 4 races) is in third place with 174, positions which place Aprilia in the lead for the Manufacturer Championship. Both riders' ambitions for the championship mean that they will have to be in it to win for the two races tomorrow, but they will also have to reckon with rivals who proved themselves to be fierce competition today, not the least of which is Tom Sykes, evermore the Superpole specialist and author of the best time today once again.

The Aprilia riders can take consolation in the good race pace they demonstrated today even in the late morning free practice sessions, as well as the perfect condition of the Aprilia RSV4, a bike which makes perfect balance and adaptability to any track its best weapons. Once again today, thanks in part to Davide Giugliano's third place for Team Althea Aprilia, three RSV4s are on rows one and two of the starting grid.

Sylvain Guintoli: "This was definitely a better day than yesterday. We world a lot on the setup for my RSV4, changing quite a few parameters and it seems to work better now. I ruined my Superpole time with a small mistake in the last sector. I could have been on the front row, but what counts is that now I'm having fun riding and if we are able to shave a few more tenths off our times tomorrow during the warm-up session I'll be able to set my sights on two good races".

Eugene Laverty: "It's been since Silverstone last year that I haven't started from the front row, but it had to happen sooner or later. We've actually been struggling all weekend and we still need to improve in order to make a play for it with Rea and Sykes. We have definitely improved throughout the sessions but I still don't have the bike that I'd like for the races tomorrow. I did the time that earned me fifth place with race tyres, so that means that if I push to the limit and take some risks I'll be able to shave almost a second off my pace. Unfortunately you can't do that for more than two laps".

More, from a press release issued by Althea Racing:

Team Althea Racing – Fantastic third place for Davide Giugliano
in Superpole at Imola

Team Althea Racing and Davide Giugliano were among the protagonists of today’s qualifying and Superpole action at the Imola circuit. In this morning’s qualifying, which took place on a dry track and in sunny conditions, Giugliano (1’47”282) recorded the third fastest time, to qualify easily for the afternoon’s Superpole. Having obtained fifth place in the first phase of the Superpole with a time of 1’47”326, the Althea rider improved further in phase two to finish seventh with a time of 1’47”166. But it was in the third and final session that Davide was able to really put on a show. He ducked under the 1’47 barrier and thanks to a fantastic lap time of 1’46.713 he took third position which means a front row start in tomorrow’s two 21-lap races.

Davide Giugliano : “It was a fantastic Superpole, the best I’ve had so far in my career. I’m really happy because after a somewhat disappointing Portimao we have put our heads own, changed what needed to be changed and reacted with strength of character. Today my team provided me with a great bike while I’m able to ride smoothly and have fun with. I hope that tomorrow I can ride as I have done over the last two days. We certainly have good race pace also because my best time in Superpole was set on race rubber and so I’m feeling very confident ahead of the races.”

More, from a press release issued by Team SBK Ducati Alstare:

Badovini and Team SBK Ducati Alstare qualify eighth for tomorrow’s SBK races at Imola

Imola (Italy), Saturday 29 June 2013: Ayrton Badovini and team SBK Ducati Alstare enjoyed a second positive day today at the ‘Autodromo Internazionale Dino e Enzo Ferrari di Imola’, qualifying in eighth position for tomorrow’s races; Carlos Checa crashed out, qualifying thirteenth.

In warm and sunny conditions Checa and Badovini returned to the track this morning for second qualifying. Despite the fact that Ayrton was unable to improve on the extremely fast time he set yesterday afternoon, he nevertheless completed the morning’s session in fifth position, to qualify for this afternoon’s Superpole in overall sixth position thanks to yesterday’s fastest time of 1’47.6. Carlos continued to work with his technicians to refine the set-up of his 1199 Panigale, qualifying for the Superpole in final eleventh position with a best lap of 1’48.2, recorded in the final seconds of this morning’s qualifying session.

Superpole 1: in this first phase both riders went out on race rubber. Unfortunately Carlos suffered a crash mid-session which forced him to sit out the remainder of the Superpole. The Spanish rider hurt his right bicep in the fall and qualified in thirteenth position for tomorrow’s races. Ayrton went back out on track with the first of his two qualifying tyres, securing third position thanks to a flying lap of 1’47.2.

Superpole 2: After coming in eighth after a first exit on the race tyre, Ayrton was quickly back out on the second qualifying tyre with which he recorded an extremely fast time of 1’46.8, his fastest lap of the weekend. He closed this second stage in second position, just three tenths of a second behind leader Sykes.

Superpole 3: Badovini participated in this third phase of Superpole for the first time this season. Unfortunately there was an interruption mid-session after a crash for Baz left oil and fuel on track. The session restarted, with five minutes still on the clock, but due to the fact that he no longer had a fresh qualifier available, Badovini closed this final mini-session in overall eighth position. He will therefore start from the third row of the grid in tomorrow’s races.

Carlos Checa: “I’m disappointed of course. In this afternoon’s crash I took a hit to the right bicep, I hope it’s only a contusion but I’m going to get it looked at in the Clinica Mobile. Hopefully, with some ice and an anti-inflammatory, it won’t give me any trouble tomorrow. This morning’s crash was nothing out of the ordinary but this afternoon was a bit strange, I’m not sure what happened. We didn’t need that of course and this evening we’ll look at the data to see if we can understand how it happened and what to do for tomorrow’s races. It’s a difficult moment for me, because I expected to do better here at Imola, now that I was feeling better physically. It won’t be easy tomorrow but I’ll do what I can.”

Ayrton Badovini: “I’m pleased because we’ve grown a lot over the weekend. We’ve got good pace and have finally managed tto take part in Q3. It’s only a shame that I wasted the second qualifying tyre because if I’d had that available for the last phase I’d have been able to qualify better. Anyway the main thing is that we’ve improved a lot over the weekend and know in which areas we need to continue working. Our fans and friends are all here to support us, more than ever seeing as we’re in Imola where there’s also a lot of attention on Ducati, so we’re concentrating on tomorrow – it’s going to be a great race day.”

More, from a press release issued by BMW Motorrad Motorsport:

Imola – Qualifying Practice 2 & Superpole.
Saturday, 29th June 2013.

Weather conditions: Sunny.
Temperature: Air: 22 – 27 °C, Track: 36 – 51 °C
Number of riders participating: 19/18 from 12 teams
Fastest lap Qualifying Practices: Jonathan Rea (Pata Honda World Superbike) 1:47.205 min
Fastest lap Superpole 3: Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) 1:45.981 min

It was a busy Saturday for the BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK Team at its home race in Imola (ITA). Factory rider Marco Melandri (ITA) will start the seventh round of the 2013 FIM Superbike World Championship from the third row. In today’s Superpole, Marco finished seventh on his BMW S 1000 RR after he had crashed at the end of the free practice session at noon. His team-mate Chaz Davies (GBR) only narrowly missed the deciding Superpole 3 session and qualified tenth on the fourth row.

Marco’s crew repaired his bike in time to compete in this afternoon’s Superpole qualifiying. In the first part of the session, both Marco and Chaz began with a few laps on race tyres before changing to the first qualifying tyre with three minutes to go. Marco recorded the second fastest time of the session and Chaz was eleventh to proceed to Superpole 2. In this second part, both used the second qualifying tyre for their first outings. While Marco was sixth fastest and returned to the garage as his progression to Superpole 3 was not in danger, Chaz was ninth fastest and went out again on a race tyre. He improved his time but missed qualification for Superpole 3 by only a tenth of a second. The deciding Superpole 3 had to be red flagged after a few minutes due to track contamination following a crash. It took a quarter of an hour to clean up before the final five and a half minutes of the session could be completed. Marco, who was on a race tyre, set the seventh fastest time.

In the FIM Superstock 1000 Cup, Sylvain Barrier from the BMW Motorrad GoldBet STK Team secured pole-position for tomorrow’s race. The Frenchman, who is leading the overall ranking, set a new best lap of 1:49.900 on his new BMW HP4 in today’s second and final qualifying practice. His team-mate Greg Gildenhuys (RSA) qualified 17th. He is still affected by the pain of his broken left heel.

Marco Melandri:
Fastest lap Qualifying Practices: 1:47.658 min (P5) / Fastest lap FP: 1:47.872 min (P6) / Fastest lap Superpole 3: 1:47.221 min (P7)
“It was a difficult day. In the free practice I crashed but it was a simple slide. Our guys fixed the bike quickly and I did not hurt myself. During the Superpole qualifying we struggled with the qualifying tyre and unfortunately it was not so good also with the race tyre. Our race pace is not as fast as the front guys, though we are only missing a little bit. For the races we need to make a step forward and try to find a solution. Tomorrow the start will be crucial because it is difficult to overtake on this track. Anyway, I want to try to fight for the front positions.”

Chaz Davies:
Fastest lap Qualifying Practices: 1:48.197 min (P10) / Fastest lap FP: 1:48.680 min (P12) / Fastest lap Superpole 2: 1:47.736 min (P10)
“The bike improved quite a lot today. I am happier with it than I was yesterday but everybody else has also improved so we need to make another step for tomorrow. In today’s Superpole I did my best lap with a race tyre as I found that the qualifying tyre was loading the rear too much on the gas and I could not turn the bike very well. It is good to know that I can do a decent lap time with the race tyre but I still believe that lap time isn’t enough. We need to further improve our pace for tomorrow and then I think it won’t be too bad because at the moment the bike is feeling the best it has been all weekend. We are getting there; we just need a good warm-up tomorrow morning and a good start in both races.”

Serafino Foti (Sport Director BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK Team):
“It was a very complicated day. We are not satisfied with the results. We still lack something to close the gap to the front. We must find a solution to put our riders in the position to have a good race. Marco has a decent lap time; it is not great, but I’m confident for the races. Chaz has struggled more, even though his feeling with the bike is better than yesterday. I hope we can find a solution for both. Tomorrow the races will be very hard for everyone. The track is very demanding for the riders. It will be important to have a good start to avoid the front riders pulling away. In any case, the races will be open to any result until the end.

In the Superstock class, every time we are on a new track we need some time to find the right setting for our new electronic damping system of our HP4. Our team did a very good job and enabled Sylvain to claim his fourth pole-position of the season. Tomorrow it will be a battle of three for the victory: Sylvain and the two riders from Ducati. Greg unfortunately did not improve from yesterday. We need to understand the reason. Anyway, we are looking forward to a good race tomorrow.”

Andrea Dosoli (Technical Director BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK Team):
“It was not an easy day. We did not achieve the grid positions we were hoping for. With Chaz, we made a step forward regarding the setting of the electronics and the chassis but he still is not 100 percent confident with the bike. We will try some different solutions in the warm-up and or confident we can improve. With Marco, we started well on Friday but today with the warmer temperatures and more rubber on the track we could not further improve with the front end feeling limiting us. So also for Marco the warm-up is important as a final preparation for the races. We hope that both riders will have a good start, then a lot is possible on this track.”

More, from a press release issued by Team Suzuki Press Office:

FIXI Crescent Suzuki's Leon Camier will start tomorrow's seventh round of the eni FIM Superbike World Championship at Imola from the second row of the grid after qualifying in sixth place this afternoon.

Camier qualified for this afternoon's Superpole after recording the ninth-fastest time in the two qualifying sessions. He made his way comfortably through the first part of Superpole with the seventh-quickest lap and followed that up in the next session - using his first qualifying tyre - to post the fourth-best time. In Superpole 3, Camier set his fastest time at the start of the session with his second qualifier, before it was red-flagged due to a massive crash by Loris Baz. When it was re-started Camier tried to improve his time with a used qualifying tyre, but was unable to better his earlier lap.

Camier will start tomorrow's two races from sixth on the grid onboard his Yoshimura-powered Suzuki GSX-R, which will give him a good chance of being with the lead group right from the start.

Jules Cluzel had a disappointing Superpole, as he was eliminated in the first session after he posted the 14th-quickest lap. He had improved on his time from yesterday during this morning's second qualifying session and finished in 13th place. Cluzel was confident of a good Superpole, but just couldn't make the tyre work for him around the 4,936m Imola circuit and will now have push hard from the start to move through the pack tomorrow.

This afternoon's Superpole was held in warm and sunny conditions with track temperatures hitting 51°C. Kawasaki's Tom Sykes took pole position as he posted a new track best time to seal his sixth successive Superpole victory of the season.

The FIXI Crescent Suzuki pair will take to the track at 12.00hrs local time (11.00hrs BST) for the first of tomorrow's two 21-lap races, with the second event scheduled for 15.30hrs local time (14.30hrs BST).

Leon Camier:

"I'm pretty happy with qualifying to be honest, but I still feel that I could have got a better lap-time out of the bike, because the qualifiers I used in Superpole 2 and 3 were both very different laps and if had strung the two together it would have been a step quicker. My last lap certainly could have been better, but it is good to be somewhere near the front and to have a semi-decent place to start from tomorrow. I think we've done a good job on race tyres and so we're quite happy with how the weekend has gone so far and now we just need to see how the races go tomorrow."

Jules Cluzel:

"I am disappointed with today as I was hoping to have a good Superpole because it seems that when I use a qualifier the bike appears to work very well, but today it just didn't feel right. On the first exit I tried to improve on my times from yesterday and this morning, but my lap-time was not as good as it was from a tyre that had done 22-laps, so something must have been wrong. When we used the qualifier it felt like I had less grip than a race tyre and the bike was moving about a lot. At the end I was only 14th and didn't go through to Superpole 2, so I was very frustrated by this. I am still learning and we have two races tomorrow, so I am happy about that because it gives me 42-laps and a chance to improve."

Paul Denning - Team Manager:

"Leon and his crew have been working hard all weekend to improve the pace of the GSX-R and today's qualifying result - putting the bike on the second row - is very positive and we have high hopes for a decent showing during the races. The engine performance - greatly assisted by Yoshimura - has improved a lot this season and at some circuits, Imola being one of them, we now have an opposite problem to the one in 2012, in that getting the power down smoothly without it spinning or wheelying is the biggest challenge and we are working hard to achieve the best solution. Leon's always a consistent and strong racer, so let's hope he can get a good start and challenge with the fastest guys tomorrow.

"Jules is at the opposite end of the spectrum in terms of the qualifying result today. It really didn't work out for him and he has been struggling to find a rhythm all weekend. Free Practice was probably our best session with him, so we will go back to something as close as we can to that setting and hope that Jules can do what he has all season long and that is to positively surprise us in the races and show what a fighter he is!"

More, from a press release issued by Kawasaki:

Brilliant Sixth Superpole Win Of The Year For Sykes And KRT

WSBK, Imola, Italy, 29 June 2013

Kawasaki Racing Team competitor Tom Sykes took his official Ninja ZX-10R machine to his sixth consecutive Superpole win today, setting a new track best lap of 1’45.981 seconds in Superpole 3.

Sykes was unstoppable even after he was forced to try for the pole time not once but twice in Superpole 3, when his team-mate Loris Baz fell at high speed and his machine blocked the track. Sykes had his first class-leading lap time deleted as he crossed the finish line, just after the red flags had come out, and he had to do it all again with no spare qualifying tyre left in his allocation.

After a conference with his team, and advice from his crew to use a fresh race tyre and not a used Qualifier from an earlier Superpole session, Sykes fitted a race option and took to the track once more. He then went on to set the fastest ever lap of the Imola circuit, without even having the extra grip that a qualifying tyre provides. He is now the only rider who has gone under the 1’46 second mark at this classic Italian venue.

Sykes has 17 career pole positions to his name and is now the fourth most successful rider of all time in qualifying, sharing this spot with SBK legend Doug Polen.

Loris Baz (KRT) was unable to finish Superpole 3 after a fast crash on the approach to the first Rivazza corner. His bike eventually blocked the track causing a red flag stopped with just under six minutes of the final Superpole session remaining. He was unable to restart because of the single bike rule and thus qualified ninth on the grid, on the third row for tomorrow’s 21-lap races.

Federico Sandi (Kawasaki Team Pedercini) will be 16th on the grid on Sunday but his team-mate Alex Lundh (Kawasaki Team Pedercini) will not race despite qualifying 19th, after a heavy fall in practice that injured his finger, hand and caused heavy bruising to his back.

In the Superstock 1000 FIM Cup Lorenzo Savadori (Team Pedercini Kawasaki) posted the fourth fastest lap of the combined qualifying session, with Jeremy Guarnoni (MRS Kawasaki) seventh and Leandro Mercado (Team Pedercini Kawasaki) eighth.

Tom Sykes: “That Superpole win was down to a good call by my crew chief Marcel who said, after the red flag incident, we should use a fresh race tyre rather than the used qualifier I had wanted to go out on again. So my best lap was done on a race tyre and I wanted to try my best and put in a big push for the great fans here and I got it a bit sideways a few times. To be honest, for me it was not the pole position that meant that much. To me it was to get on the front row first of all and also because I was motivated because I had to finally use a race tyre. When I produced that kind of fast lap time I was excited. Doing that Superpole session on a race tyre has also given us good information for the races tomorrow. I am looking to put in strong results after my stupid mistake in Portimao and two strong finishes would put that memory to bed.”

Loris Baz: “It seems it has been really tough but I am happier than the results show so far. We lost some time in practice with a small technical problem and then a crash in another practice session, so we lost nearly all of Friday, but we still had the speed to be near the front. In Superpole I did a good time in the first one but I had no feeling with the qualifying tyre in the second and had to use both of them. I started Superpole three on a soft race tyre and went out behind Tom, who had a qualifier on his bike at that time. I was doing a really good lap but I lost the front on the fast downhill corner. My team thinks maybe I was doing 260-270kmph so it was maybe the biggest crash I ever had. I am not happy to fall in Superpole but I am happy because I am on my feet here, ready to race and I still have a good feeling after the tests in Aragon. I am starting of the third row but I will try to make a good start and be with the guys at the front. In the crash I had a footpeg digging into my leg, and I lost a bit of skin from my left thumb, but I am OK otherwise.”