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WSBK Silverstone: Sykes kicks off home weekend in style

Tom Sykes sets a fierce pace in first free practice at Silverstone, while second place Leon Camier also shows impressive form.
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Tom Sykes sent out an early warning shot to his World Superbike Championship rivals during first free practice at Silverstone, the title contender dominating the early reckoning.

Eager to bounce back from a frustrating weekend in Russia, Sykes wasted little time asserting his authority over the opposition, his lap of 2min 06.559secs holding firm at the top of the timesheets until the closing stages.

Though he would be unseated from the pinnacle by a swift Leon Camier in the closing stages, he was only demoted for a few seconds before pumping in a definitive 2mins 06.056secs lap to put four tenths between himself and the Suzuki rider.

Despite missing out on the P1, Camier himself was still well ahead of his nearest rivals, the Briton – who started on the front row in 2012 – half a second faster than a trio of Italians in the order Michel Fabrizio, Davide Giugliano and Marco Melandri.

Jonathan Rea headed up the Honda challenge in sixth position, with last year's Silverstone race winner Loris Baz seventh having shadowed Sykes in a Kawasaki 1-2 for much of the session.

Upstaged by their satellite Aprilia counterparts, Eugene Laverty and Sylvain Guintoli were eighth and ninth fastest, with Ayrton Badovini sneaking the Alstare Ducati into the top ten in tenth position.

Further back, Suzuka 8 Hours winner Leon Haslam was 11th fastest, with Chaz Davies 14th and Carlos Checa 15th after completing just four laps.

Despite completing just six laps before a technical problem sidelined him, returnee Mark Aitchison was still fast enough to out-pace Pedercini Kawasaki team-mate Federico Sandi and Vittorio Iannuzzo.




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