Jerez: Sykes: The bike was on rails

Tom Sykes claims his bike was a pleasure to ride in World Superbike qualifying as he took his 29th career pole position at Jerez
Tom Sykes has said his Kawasaki felt like it "was on rails” as he stormed to a stunning World Superbike pole position ahead of team-mate Jonathan Rea at Jerez.

Sykes' final qualifying time was marginally under Loris Baz's pole position record from 2014 and, according to the Englishman, the Pirelli qualifying tyre made all the difference in Q2.

While delighted with the result that takes his career pole count to 29, Sykes insisted that his race pace is also strong as he bids to challenge Chaz Davies for second in the world championship.

“A few guys are very strong so it is good to be at the front for tomorrow's two races. I like to ride out front, that is how I like to do it. I don't like anybody behind or in front of me - I just like to go and race the tarmac.

“We found some clear air but had a difficult time in the first run with the race tyre, and the lap time was incredibly slow. When we put the qualifying tyre into the Ninja ZX-10R for the second run it was very easy to manage. It was such an enjoyment to ride then and to get the record was just a little bit something extra for today. The bike was on rails and to be honest I think we could have done a better lap.

“I think we have good race pace too. Obviously Jonathan has got a good one. Chaz has put in some quick and consistent lap times too but we'll see. Tomorrow is another day. It all depends how the race pans out early on and how we go at the end. I certainly hope to have a more consistent tyre than in recent events.”

Sykes currently sits 13 points behind Davies in the championship and with the Ducati man starting Sunday's races from sixth, the number 66 insisted he is only focusing on his own set-up.

“I'll just focus on how my bike's working. He's still on the second row. Of course if he drops back a little bit Jerez is quite a one-line track in some areas so we'll see. I see he has good pace but it all depends on the conditions tomorrow.”

Despite the fast time, Sykes is still concerned about tyre endurance, as his style is still not completely suited to the current set-up of his Kawasaki ZX-10R. With teams testing at the southern Spanish track on Monday, Sykes feels it will provide a crucial opportunity to experiment with bike set-up.

“In the past I've been fighting both Aprilias here. Things were a little different then because we could manage the bike much better in some areas. We're still restricted and that's the only thing that makes me a little bit nervous. Because I'm not able to ride the bike how I want I feel this jeopardises how I use the potential of the rear tyre. We're still working on this.

“I think we're not doing a bad job. We're still fighting at the front but I've made no secret that I'm not entirely happy with the balance that myself and the ZX-10R have had this year. We have a test on Monday and that'll give us time to try something. In a race weekend you can only try very small things.

“The testing ban has definitely hurt me a lot this year because we've not been able to try anything radical to really change the balance of the bike. For this I'm disappointed but this is something I'll work on on Monday.”

Tagged as: Kawasaki , Ducati , Aprilia , Jerez , Tom Sykes , Davies , baz

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