Portimao (Portugal), Saturday 22 September 2012 – Tissot-Superpole has almost become the personal property of Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) in 2012 and in Portimao he recorded his eighth win in this competition, which allocates final grid positions for the top 16 qualifiers. His most recent Superpole success before today was at Brno, in July. Tom now has ten career pole positions to his credit, the same as SBK legend Pierfrancesco Chili, placing him equal eighth in the all time rankings.
Sykes set a 1 minute 41.415 second lap in Superpole 3 to record his new track best and in the process head off the impressive combined push of 2011 World Champion Carlos Checa (Althea Racing Ducati) and Eugene Laverty (Aprilia Racing Team). Marco Melandri (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) and Max Biaggi (Aprilia Racing Team) were fourth and fifth respectively.
Tom Sykes: “I’m pleasantly surprised! Before I came here I was expecting some difficulties going from past experience with the Kawasaki, but all credit to the team, because in the opening three laps I knew that the ZX-10R was a different bike and it has been working well all weekend. When we put the qualifying tyre in it seemed to work even better, honestly I’m happy to be on pole position tomorrow and my race pace is not too bad either”.
Carlos Checa: “It’s unpredictable here but we are really satisfied with this front row position, we didn’t expect this lap time or to get second place. For the race we’ll see, many riders have a strong pace and we need to test some things but honestly we are not so far away from the other guys. The races are quite long, hopefully we can be in the front and fight until the end”.
Eugene Laverty: “We’ve been strong all weekend and in the second free practice we did a good run on our race tyre. Superpole was also pretty good, I had some chatter on the qualifier so to get the front row, I was pleased with that. The Aprilia is working well here, even pre-season testing was very strong, so I’m desperately going for the 25 points tomorrow!”
Marco Melandri: "We struggled a lot on the race tyre. They are not going to be two easy races tomorrow but I’ll try and stay with the leading group. We have a bit of chattering, and I’m losing time when I turn into the corner so 22 laps will be tough. Sykes will go well, Biaggi is quick on race tyres, the three of us will be at the front but maybe Checa and Laverty as well."
Leon Haslam (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) took an important second row starting position with sixth place while his fellow Britons Jonathan Rea (Honda World Superbike Team) and Chaz Davies (ParkinGO MTC Racing Aprilia) completed the top eight.
Leon Camier (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) and Davide Giugliano (Althea Racing Ducati) headed up the rankings on row three, having made it through to Superpole 2 but no further. Privateer PATA Ducati rider Sylvain Guintoli secured 11th place with a small error on his flying lap from Loris Baz (Kawasaki Racing Team) holding the sixth fastest rider in combined qualifying down in 12th place. In all, 23 riders qualified for the two races on Sunday 23rd September.
Times: 1. Sykes (Kawasaki) 1'41.415 average 163.005 kph; 2. Checa (Ducati) 1'41.780; 3. Laverty (Aprilia) 1'41.789; 4. Melandri (BMW) 1'42.015; 5. Biaggi (Aprilia) 1'42.140; 6. Haslam (BMW) 1'42.271; 7. Rea (Honda) 1'42.717; 8. Davies (Aprilia) 1'43.459; 9. Camier (Suzuki) 1'42.767; 10. Giugliano (Ducati) 1'42.799; 11. Guintoli (Ducati) 1'42.995; 12. Baz (Kawasaki) 1'43.199; 13. McCormick (Ducati) 1'43.410; 14. Badovini (BMW) 1'43.483; 15. Fabrizio (BMW) 1'43.863; 16. Salom (Kawasaki) 1'44.479; etc.
Broc Parkes (Ten Kate Racing Products Honda) scored his second pole position of the 2012 season in a closely-fought contest at Portimao. He held off the pressure from French riders Fabien Foret (Kawasaki Intermoto Step Racing) and Jules Cluzel (PTR Honda), with only 0.051 seconds separating the top three. Sam Lowes (Bogdanka PTR Honda) was fourth and joins the leading trio on the front row for tomorrow’s race. Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Lorenzini) was only seventh today, but still starts off the second row, while his team-mate Sheridan Morais was fifth and Vladimir Leonov (Yakhnich Motorsport Yamaha) sixth.
Times: 1. Parkes (Honda) 1'45.408 average 156.831 kph; 2. Foret (Kawasaki) 1'45.458; 3. Cluzel (Honda) 1'45.459; 4. Lowes (Honda) 1'45.567; 5. Morais (Kawasaki) 1'45.877; 6. Leonov (Yamaha) 1'45.999; 7. Sofuoglu (Kawasaki) 1'46.129; 8. Marino (Kawasaki) 1'46.221; 9. Roccoli (Yamaha) 1'46.383; 10. Baldolini (Triumph) 1'46.580; etc.
Sylvain Barrier (BMW Motorrad Italia GoldBet) plucked pole from final qualifying at Portimao, setting easily the best lap of the session in 1 minute 45.487 seconds. Bryan Staring (Team Pedercini Kawasaki) was second, some way behind, with Eddi La Marra (Barni Racing Team Italia Ducati) third. Christoffer Bergman (BWG Racing Kawasaki) put himself fourth, with Fabio Massei (EAB Ten Kate Junior Team Honda) and Jeremy Guarnoni (MRS Kawasaki) fifth and sixth fastest respectively.
Times: 1. Barrier (BMW) 1'45.487 average 156.713 kph; 2. Staring (Kawasaki) 1'46.235; 3. La Marra (Ducati) 1'46.427; 4. Bergman (Kawasaki) 1'46.597; 5. Massei (Honda) 1'46.626; 6. Guarnoni (Kawasaki) 1'46.786; 7. Savadori (Ducati) 1'46.913; 8. Jezek (Ducati) 1'46.972; 9. Mercado (Kawasaki) 1'47.113; 10. Reiterberger (BMW) 1'47.184; etc.
The UEM Superstock 600 European Championship qualifying sessions were headed by Dutch title contender Michael van Der Mark (EAB Junior Team Honda), from this season’s other great force in this class, Riccardo Russo (Team Italia FMI Yamaha). Adrian Nestorovic (Team MTM Racing Yamaha) pushed his way to third in another good showing, with the first Kawasaki machine going to the grid in fourth place, thanks to Christian Gamarino (Team GO ELEVEN). Alexander Schacht (Schacht Racing SBK ONE Honda) was fifth. The race will take place on Sunday at this round, unlike Saturday afternoon as at most other events.
Times: 1. Vd Mark (Honda) 1'48.048 average 152.999 kph; 2. Russo (Yamaha) 1'48.357; 3. Nestorovic (Yamaha) 1'48.438; 4. Gamarino (Kawasaki) 1'48.913; 5. Schacht (Honda) 1'48.935; 6. Jones (Yamaha) 1'49.010; 7. Mulhauser (Yamaha) 1'49.024; 8. Duwelz (Yamaha) 1'49.040; 9. Morbidelli (Yamaha) 1'49.315; 10. Chesaux (Honda) 1'49.331; etc.