13 May 2012
Donington Park WSBK 2012 - Sunday
The local favourite has been looking very quick around his home circuit all weekend, but a costly fall during Q2 prevented him from taking pole position. Injuring his finger, just to supplement his bout of food poisoning, there are a few reasons to prevent Sam from getting that long awaited victory, but the motivation of doing it front of your home crowd will undoubtedly override that…
An interesting point to emerge from Superpole was the Pirelli tyres, after the riders switched between race and qualifying rubber in an effort to get a pole-winning time.
Perhaps the best example of this was Haslam, who was forced to use a qualifying tyre in SP1 when an early technical issue put him onto the back foot. Forced to try and progress to SP3 using a race tyre, Haslam found his bike better suited as he not only topped the short session, but actually broke the lap record!
Back onto the qualifying tyre for the shootout, Haslam went faster still, despite encountering chatter on the BMW, and will start second for his troubles. If conditions stay similar, Haslam looks closer to a BMW victory than ever before today…
So Sykes is on pole position for Sunday's races, which is potentially significant for many reasons.
Firstly, he is well placed to the first British victory at Donington Park since James Toseland in 2007.
Secondly, if he takes the championship lead at the end of the races, he will become the first Kawasaki rider to do so since Scott Russell in 1993.
Thirdly, he has the chance to make it ten consecutive races that he has led at the end of the opening lap.
And finally, he now has 6 pole positions to his name - that's more than James Toseland and Max Biaggi, and just one adrift of Noriyuki Haga!
A brisk early start for me, but the sun is out here at Donington Park and a similarly sunny disposition can be felt amongst the incoming crowds as they cheer on a potential British winner.
Tom Sykes is on pole position, but Leon Haslam is looking poised in second position having been impressively fast on race rubber during Superpole yesterday.
Jonathan Rea and Leon Camier are also looking strong this weekend, but Marco Melandri, Max Biaggi and Sylvain Guintoli can never be discounted. Or Carlos Checa from ninth. In fact, predicting a winner in World Superbikes is never easy - this isn't MotoGP, after all...
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