Rea and Haslam complete the first row for tomorrow's two WorldSBK races.
Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) has won his first Tissot-Superpole of the season after a tense final 15-minute shoot-out in Assen. The 4.542km Cathedral of Speed once again produced an exciting climax to the WorldSBK qualifying session in which the top-8 riders on the grid for tomorrow’s two 21 lap races were covered by a second. Today’s Pole Position is the 25th of Tom’s career, his first since Magny-Cours 2014. Joining Sykes on the front row will be his team mate Jonathan Rea and Leon Haslam (Aprilia Racing Team – Red Devils).
Row two was decided in the final minute as Chaz Davies valiant effort to overhaul Sykes failed after a mistake at the exit of Turn 9, the Aruba.it Racing - Ducati SBK Team rider will start fourth with local hero Michael van der Mark (Pata Honda World Superbike Team) and Alex Lowes (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki), who scored his maiden podium in WorldSBK last year, fifth and sixth respectively.
On the third row of the grid Xavi Fores (Aruba.it Racing Ducati SBK Team) will line up alongside Jordi Torres (Aprilia Racing Team – Red Devils) and Sylvain Guintoli (Pata Honda World Superbike Team) in what was the most closely fought Tissot-Superpole of the season so far.
Earlier Guintoli and Leandro Mercado (Barni Racing Ducati) were the two riders to progress from Superpole 1, with the Argentine claiming tenth place ahead of Leon Camier (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) and Nico Terol (Althea Racing Ducati).
Tom Sykes #66 - Kawasaki Racing Team
Combined Free Practice 1 and 2 - 1st
“We are definitely getting there now. It feels that this pole has been a long time coming but I am very happy. In Aragon we had a small indication that the Ninja ZX-10R and myself are starting to work as one package again. I know we can still improve the Ninja underneath me but as long as we can keep working in this direction, I am happy. A lot of credit has to go to my crew chief Marcel and the boys in the garage. We have had the mechanics working hard and making a lot of changes. We have definitely got the speed and now I want that speed for 20 more laps here.”
Jonathan Rea #65 - Kawasaki Racing Team
Combined Free Practice 1 and 2 - 2nd
"I am happy to be on the front row because it is important here at Assen and also I have a strong race pace so it gives me a chance to be in the front at least. My lap was a good one but I made some small mistakes. Tom did a good job and that is an impressive lap time with the 2015 regulations in place. I really did want the pole position today because when I felt the qualifying tyre on the out lap, I though I could give it a go. I just overcooked it in T1 and it upset the next two corners. When I saw the lap time I knew we could be competitive for the front row but not for pole position.”
Michael van der Mark #60 - Pata Honda
Tissot-Superpole - 5th
"Today was really good and we tried a few little things in set-up this morning, trying to solve a couple of problems we had yesterday. We found a good solution and I was pretty quick in FP3 and then even faster in FP4. We were quite consistent, too, so I was very happy with that. In final qualifying of Superpole I think my lap could have been a little faster but I’m quite happy with P5. To be on the second row for my home round is a good position to start. Our race pace is OK, although we still need to find a couple of tenths, but I’m quite confident for the races tomorrow."
WorldSBK Assen - Tissot-Superpole
1 - Tom Sykes Kawasaki Racing Team 1'34.789
2 - Jonathan Rea Kawasaki Racing Team +0.131
3 - Leon Haslam Aprilia Racing Team - Red Devils +0.547