Donington Park (Great Britain), Friday 25 May 2013 - Following the morning's wet Free Practice, Qualifying 1 for the eni FIM Superbike World Championship at Donington Park saw improving conditions, that led to a nearly full dry situation towards the end of the session. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) set a 1'30.278 lap-time to finish on top, with a big margin (1.282 seconds) over 2nd place Jonathan Rea (Pata Honda World Superbike). Sykes has made the difference at Donington Park today, as the remaining 9 to complete the top-10 finished within a second of each other.
His encouraging start of the weekend was hampered by a late crash at Turn 4 that damaged his Ninja ZX-10R, but the works Kawasaki rider walked away from the gravel uninjured. A Few seconds before Frenchman Jules Cluzel (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) lost control of his GSX-R1000 at the exact same spot.
Marco Melandri (BMW Motorrad GoldBet) kept his momentum up after Monza's success by finishing 3rd , followed by Aprilia duo of Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia Racing Team) and Davide Giugliano (Althea Racing), Leon Camier (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) placed Michel Fabrizio (Red Devils Roma Aprilia). Melandri's team mate Chaz Davies was 8th ahead of works Aprilia rider Eugene Laverty.
Local hero Leon Haslam (Pata Honda World Superbike) fought against the pain to complete an outstanding total of 8 laps (14th place). The rider from Derby was declared fit to ride but his conditions will be reviewed again before tomorrow's Qualifying 2. Haslam fractured his left leg at Assen and despite still recovering from the injury, he is doing his very best to tackle the whole round.
Leon Haslam: “I wasn’t going to go out if the conditions were as dodgy as they were this morning but if it rains tomorrow I needed to get a banker in. I managed to do that and get in the top 15 in case it rains, and I only got two laps in dodgy conditions. We made a few adjustments to the bike which helped the knee but in that session I had no pain killers, no strapping, nothing, so for me it can only get better from now. I’m going now to get it iced up and have some more treatment and make a better plan for tomorrow morning.”
Despite wet track conditions, low temperatures and strong winds blowing, World Supersport riders were on track this afternoon for the first qualifying session of Round 5 at Donington Park. While some of the front-runners in the standings kept in the respective garages for most of the session, the rest of the field put up a good challenge as the tarmac conditions improved slightly during the 45 minutes.
Current Championship leader Sam Lowes (Yakhnich Motorsport Yamaha) waited until the very last minutes to enter the track and top the timesheets - courtesy of a 1'43.642 lap-time - ahead of reigning and defending Champion Kenan Sofuoglu (Mahi Racing Team India Kawasaki), who's seeking retribution after last round's DNF. Lowes mastered perfectly the Leicester track in difficult conditions, putting a 1.116 seconds gap between himself and the 3-time World Champion in the process.
Although being declared fit to ride, Michael van der Mark (Pata Honda World Supersport) and Fabien Foret (Mahi Racing Team India Kawasaki) decided to stay out of trouble and didn't get on track. South African Mathew Scholtz (Suriano Racing Team Suzuki), joined this weekend by new team mate Alex Baldolini, finished 3rd followed by 2007 125cc World Champion Gabor Talmacsi (Prorace Honda) and the winners of yesterday's hilarious Pre-event Jack Kennedy (Rivamoto Honda) and Christian Iddon (ParkinGo MV Agusta Corse).