Sykes And Lascorz Qualify Well In Spain

June 18, 2011

WSBK, Motorland Aragon, Spain, 18 June 2011 - Tom Sykes and Joan Lascorz will start each 20-lap WSBK race at Motorland Aragon from the second row after finishing Superpole qualifying fifth and seventh respectively.

Sykes has never dipped out of the top five in any session of practice or qualifying and was then sixth, fifth and finally fifth again through the three Superpole sessions. Tom even stayed in contention for a front row starting spot right until the end of the final Superpole session and posted his impressive lap time on a race tyre.

Lascorz had a slightly more complex practice and qualifying experience before Superpole, ending up tenth after combined qualifying. He was only 0.647 seconds from the leading rider at that point. Lascorz’ seventh place after Superpole puts him in a good position to take an early advantage in what will be his lone home race in 2011. Seventh was his best qualifying performance of the year so far. The tall Spanish rider had the opportunity to test Aragon recently but was only able to do a few laps back then.

It was another tough weekend of practice for the recently returned Kawasaki Racing Team rider Chris Vermeulen but although 18th in combined qualifying, he was only 1.324 seconds from the very fastest; a respectable margin at a circuit which measures 5.344km in length.

Mark Aitchison (Kawasaki Pedercini Team) was on strong form, making it into Superpole and finally qualifying 14th, by far his best pre-race position of the year so far. His team-mate Roby Rolfo was 19th, one place behind Vermeulen.

Tom Sykes: “We have been in the top five places all weekend and I am quite happy. I still don’t think we made the best out of the qualifying tyres and in superpole we had no option but to run with the race tyre and we produced quite a good lap. I was happy with that. I was just a little bit disappointed we lost out on a front row start but that is just me putting pressure on myself and wanting to achieve more things. I am confident with our race pace and over 20 laps we are quite consistent, so it just depends what the other guys do and which tyres they choose. We did a bit of a race run this afternoon and without busting a gut it seems we were very strong and consistent, so we will see tomorrow. I just pray that I get real good starts, that is all I need. If we get away clean I will have a big smile on my face ready to battle away for the rest of the races.”

Joan Lascorz: “I found things easier at this circuit with the qualifying tyre on the bike. We improved by a second when we made that change. On the entry to corners on closed throttle it turned better and that made the whole machine work better. I made a good adjustment in the final Superpole sessions but we were losing a bit of time because the bike was sometimes trying to do a wheelie. So we will work on that aspect of set-up. We have made one step more and every time I start nearer the front we can improve. We have not chosen a tyre yet, it just depends on the weather conditions we find in the morning.”

Chris Vermeulen: “We improved it a little bit this afternoon, and as my chief mechanic Marcel said, our race pace is not that far away on race tyres. As far as the bike set-up is here, I am having the same sort of issues I was having in Misano. Just not being able to stop the bike and get confidence in the front while braking. We made a little bit of a step forward using the tyre we expect to be racing on. I used the hardest front too, just because I wanted to try it out. We were only a couple of tenths off getting into Superpole but I could not get a good feeling this morning. The lap times are close so it should be an exciting race.”