WSBK Assen: Sykes fastest again in Q1

Tom Sykes proves he is a tough man to beat when it gets slippery as he heads the timesheets after Q1, well ahead of Sylvain Guintoli and Eugene Laverty.
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Kawasaki's Tom Sykes continued to hold sway at the head of the timesheets on the opening day of action for the third round of the season at Assen as wet weather continued to blight proceedings in the Netherlands.

Having been quickest in the wet FP1 session earlier today, Sykes was once again the man to beat in slippery conditions as he steadily lowered his best to an eventual 1min 57.190secs.

Despite the best efforts of his rivals, that was enough to leave Sykes almost two seconds faster than nearest rivals Sylvain Guintoli and Eugene Laverty on their respective Aprilias in second and third positions.

Italian duo Marco Melandri and Davide Giugliano followed up in fourth and fifth positions, ahead of Ayrton Badovini, who rallied towards the head of the timesheets for much of the session, only for a fall in the closing stages to precede his slip to sixth place.

Even so, he was still quick enough to break the 2min marker and out-pace Jonathan Rea, the Ulsterman flying solo for the local Pata Honda team for the remainder of the weekend following the confirmation that Leon Haslam has sustained a broken leg in an FP1 fall.

Jules Cluzel and Leon Camier, the latter soldiering on despite his knee injury, filled positions eight and ten, the Suzuki pair sandwiching the Ducati of Carlos Checa.

With the weather expected to improve for the all-important Q2 session in the morning, the fight to make the top fifteen in Q1 could prove irrelevant. Even so, it was still an impressive performance for Mark Aitchison to lift his ageing Effenbert Liberty Ducati 1098R up into 12th position, ahead of Loris Baz and Chaz Davies, the latter getting only a handful of laps after an early fall limited his running.

The Welshman wasn't the only rider to take a tumble in the session, with Badovini and Ivan Clementi also succumbing to the difficult conditions.

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