Sykes quickest in FP2

Tom Sykes proves his pace in the dry, as well as the wet, by pacing the final free practice session ahead of Superpole, in front of Jonathan Rea and Marco Melandri.
Tom Sykes's quest to notch up a third consecutive World Superbike pole position received a boost ahead of Superpole as he topped the FP2 timesheets at Assen.

The Briton, riding the sole factory Kawasaki in the wake of Joan Lascorz's injuries, has shown remarkable form over a single lap so far this year, a trend he continued around the Dutch circuit when he went fastest in the final minutes of second practice.

Setting his best lap on a surface that had almost dried having started damp, Sykes was just under a tenth faster than Honda's Jonathan Rea, while Marco Melandri and Carlos Checa ensured four different manufacturers inside the top four on their respective BMW and Ducati machines.

Showing a greater turn of pace this weekend following a difficult Phillip Island and Imola, Ayrton Badovini was fifth fastest on the BMW Italia, while Niccolo Canepa will be left wondering what could have been after going sixth quickest having failed to make it through to Superpole. The Italian is already confirmed to start 18th.

Eugene Laverty as seventh fastest, while David Salom was a fine eighth best on the Pedercini bike, the Spaniard seemingly benefiting from the factory Kawasaki assistance he is receiving this weekend. Jakub Smrz and Leon Haslam rounded out the top ten.

Elsewhere, Leon Camier has given his Crescent Fixi Suzuki team a task ahead of Superpole after crashing on his first flying lap, the Briton failing to set a time.

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Strange to see an almost complete absence of japanese bikes in a major world championship. Also a bit strange that the only one with a chance of fighting for victories is Kawasaki. Having said that, total kudos to Sykes who seems a serious championship contender, a long way for being subdued by Spies when at Yamaha. Nowadays, Sykes is showing us all what his true value is...

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