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WSBK Donington: Sykes flies the flag with another pole

25 May 2013

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Tom Sykes's will start his home round of the 2013 World Superbike Championship at Donington Park from a milestone 15th career pole position after dominating qualifying once again.

Sykes has been in effortless form throughout the weekend, topping Q1, Q2 and FP2 prior to Superpole, the Kawasaki rider commanding a comfortable lead over his rivals on each occasion.

It was a performance he would ramp up for Superpole, Sykes topping all three phases and smashing his own lap record on three occasions to end the session with a lap of 1min 27.378secs – four tenths quicker than both his former benchmark and his nearest rival, Sylvain Guintoli.

A 15th career pole position that lifts him to sixth place on the all-time list alongside Colin Edwards, Sykes comes into the weekend looking to bridge the 18 point deficit to leader Guintoli.

Even so, Sykes will still have the Frenchman starting alongside him in second place, with Aprilia team-mate Eugene Laverty once again picking up a front row start in third, albeit seven tenths adrift of the Kawasaki.

Heading up the second row, Pata Honda's Jonathan Rea's final lap was enough to get him fourth having been briefly deposed by countryman Leon Camier, the Fixi Crescent Suzuki rider making it three British riders inside the top five with his best qualifying performance of the season.

They are joined on row two by Marco Melandri in sixth, the Italian keen to repeat his 2011 and 2012 wins around the British circuit, while his BMW GoldBet team-mate Chaz Davies starts just behind in seventh position.

Rounding out the third row, Davide Giugliano and Niccolo Canepa start eighth and ninth, the latter impressing on his World Superbike return as a third rider for Alstare Ducati to out-qualify his more experienced team-mates.

The second phase of qualifying would prove less successful for the French contingent, with Jules Cluzel and Loris Baz missing out in 11th and 12th, the pair just behind former champion Carlos Checa on the second of the Alstare Ducatis.

Behind them, the injured Leon Haslam very nearly made it through to SP2, only to be bumped down late by Cluzel, leaving him 13th on the grid. The local favourite will share row five with Ayrton Badovini and Michel Fabrizio.


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