Row two will see Marco Melandri, Loris Baz and Sylvain Guinto.
Portimão (Portugal) - Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) will start the 8th round’s two World Superbike races from the front of the grid after winning this afternoon’s Tissot-Superpole at a very hot and sunny Portimão circuit, his third in a row at the Portuguese track and 22nd Pole Position so far in his WSBK career.
A thrilling Superpole 1 saw David Salom (Kawasaki Racing Team) and Sylvain Barrier (BMW Motorrad Italia Superbike Team) progress to join the already seeded top ten from the combined free practice sessions with the 12 riders then doing battle for the final 15 minute grid deciding shoot-out.
The opening session wasn’t without incident as after 4 minutes the red flags came out as the marshals tended to Claudio Corti (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) who had fell on the rollercoaster section of the circuit. He was taken to the medical centre for further checks. Toni Elias (Red Devils Roma Aprilia) also failed to record a time as his Aprilia developed a technical problem on his out lap.
In the final 15 minute Superpole 2, the times at the top changed almost every time a rider recorded a time but at the flag and with less than a second covering the top 9, Sykes emerged as the fastest, ahead of Jonathan Rea (Pata Honda World Superbike Team) and Chaz Davies (Ducati Superbike Team), who will join him on row one tomorrow.
Row two will see Marco Melandri (Aprilia Racing Team), Loris Baz (Kawasaki Racing Team) and other factory Aprilia rider Sylvain Guintoli, who recovered from a high speed FP4 crash to claim 6th.
In the battle of the EVO riders, Sylvain Barrier will start 10th and David Salom 12th.
Alex Lowes (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki) crashed in the final minute of the session and will therefore start 11th tomorrow.
Tom Sykes: “The Ninja ZX-10R is working well after we started quite steadily this weekend. We made some small changes to the bike every session and now I feel more comfortable on it. On the race tyre I was able to feel more comfortable and in Superpole, with the qualifying tyre, I just made it to the apexes a little bit easier. I am happy, especially after the changes we made today. I feel more comfortable and confident for the races tomorrow but I expect two difficult races. There are a lot of riders who are capable of running at the front but we will do the best we can.”
Jonathan Rea: “We made quite a big change to the set-up on the rear of the bike for Superpole after we’d compared data with Leon. It is really good that he’s also on a good pace here this weekend because we can share data much better and I’m also learning some things from him. We’ve made a lot of progress here compared to the last few races and I’m really enjoying riding my bike here. We’ve gone back to basics, to something we know, and it’s good to come to Portimao where we have a lot of data. I’m really excited about tomorrow’s races. We’ve done a lot of laps on old tyres so we’ll have to wait and see if all that hard work will pay off.
Times: 1. Sykes (Kawasaki) 1'42.484 average 161.305 kph; 2. Rea (Honda) 1'42.765; 3. Davies (Ducati) 1'42.924; 4. Melandri (Aprilia) 1'43.038; 5. Baz (Kawasaki) 1'43.048; 6. Guintoli (Aprilia) 1'43.076; 7. Laverty (Suzuki) 1'43.245; 8. Giugliano (Ducati) 1'43.317; 9. Haslam (Honda) 1'43.475; 10. Barrier (BMW) 1'43.754; 11. Lowes (Suzuki) 1'43.840; 12. Salom (Kawasaki) 1'44.361; 13. Badovini (Bimota); 14. Canepa (Ducati); 15. Iddon (Bimota); 16. Morais (Kawasaki); 17. Staring (Kawasaki); 18. Andreozzi (Kawasaki); 19. Corti (MV Agusta) ; 20. Elias (Aprilia);