Crash.Net WSBK News
Sykes unfazed by rare front row miss
23 February 2013
Tom Sykes says he isn't concerned to be starting on the second row of a World Superbike Championship race for only the second time in twelve months after losing out with the new grid regulations in fourth position.
The Briton was a dominant figure in Superpole last season, claiming nine pole positions and a further four front row starts, with his only qualifying blemish coming courtesy of an eighth place at Silverstone.
Based on his performance at Phillip Island, Sykes's fourth place would have been enough to continue that run in 2012, but with WSBK adopting the 3-3-3-3 grid format from this season, he will instead get underway from the second row.
Despite this, Sykes was happy with his pace given his wrist injury, the Kawasaki man pointing out that his scintillating Superpole form in 2012 was proof that single lap performance isn't so critical come race day anyway.
“The new look Superpole rules have not suited us because we could have had a nice front row start. We are on row two but obviously we have done a good job to get so close, so fast, after having been forced to skip two days testing and then riding injured. I learned last year that qualifying is qualifying and racing I another story, so I am a decent spot for tomorrow's races.
“It will be two long races, in hot conditions from what I have heard, so let's see. We have a bit of thinking to do tonight to decide in exactly which direction we will go but I do not feel we are in a bad situation at all. Let us see how tomorrow goes.”
Kawasaki team-mate Loris Baz will start his first-ever races at Phillip Island from 11th position on the grid, a result the youngster was happy with having struggled in the latter half of the field for much of pre-season testing and practice.
“This was one of our best weekends of work in practice and qualifying and it had been going well until the last corners when I had a qualifying tyre in Superpole 2. The second qualifier we had did not work as well as the first one we used and by the time I got to the last corners it had given its best, so I could not improve my time to go into the final part of Superpole.
“We are good for the race I think, we have done a lot of work and think we are in good shape for the race, which is the main thing. My best lap in Superpole 2 was actually done on a race tyre so I am happy about that.”