Tom Sykes's hopes of opening up his 2014 Superpole account at Phillip Island came to an abrupt conclusion when strong winds tipped him into a crash at Lukey Heights whilst on course for the top spot.
Having intentionally focused on race pace throughout the weekend, Sykes was looking to unleash to full one-lap potential both he and Kawasaki have become known for in recent years as he posted 'red' in both sectors one and two.
However, his hopes of displacing eventual pole sitter Sylvain Guintoli and becoming the first WSBK rider in history to get into the 1min 29s bracket were ended by a gust of wind getting beneath the bike as it rounded the Lukey Heights left-hander.
Sending both man and machine off the circuit, Sykes was frustrated to be left down in eighth place for the opening two races of the season, but has faith in his race pace nonetheless.
“We were steady away with the race tyre to start. When we put the qualifying tyre in I was on a great pace and the bike felt really good. I got to the top of Lukey Heights and even though I knew I was being steady there, it was obviously not steady enough.
“As soon as I came over the top of the hill the wind got underneath the bike. I managed to save it but it immediately lost it again as I tried to recover. It was a big shame that, but that is how racing goes sometimes. I am disappointed and I know that lap would have been well into the 1'29s, which would have been a nice personal goal to reach.
“Tomorrow is another day and I am ready for it. Our race pace is good and we have been working very hard, so we are definitely ready to race. The only thing we lost is some starting positions but hopefully we will be wise enough to be able to recover from that in the races.”