Four To The Floor As Sykes Gets Into Gear Again In Superpole
May 12, 2012
Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) took his fourth Superpole win of the 2012 season today at Donington after setting a new track best lap of 1’27.716 in Superpole Three.
Sykes has only had to relinquish the Superpole prize once this season and put his latest success down to his team finding the right set-up on his Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R for Tom to make the best use of a qualifying tyre in the very last session of the day.
In terms of race pace Sykes is happy with his machine set-up and feels he can make two good races on Sunday, irrespective of which tyre he and his team opt to use.
Loris Baz, Tom’s new team-mate, had a good introduction to the highly competitive Superbike World Championship in practice and qualifying, and only missed out on qualifying for Superpole by two places and a coupe of tenths of a second. He was just less than 1.5 seconds from the very best combined qualifying time and now starts the races on Sunday from 18th grid spot, with five riders starting behind him.
Kawasaki Team Pedercini regular rider Leandro Mercado qualified 22nd after falling in the second qualifying session while his new team-mate for the weekend, Gary Mason, was 23rd. This is Mason’s first SBK race experience.
Tom Sykes: “I am looking forward to tomorrow and we can use any rear tyre. It is just a matter of how we feel, what the conditions are and we will take it from there. The track here feels bumpier this year, some of the white lines are greasy, and it feels like more of a challenge. At the start of the weekend we had quite a harsh feeling with the set-up on the bike but we have improved it.You have to get every last bit out of the motorcycle. I was missing a bit of feeling but we kept working in Superpole 1 and 2, making some very small changes and finally in Superpole 3 those changes made all the difference. Small things make a difference at this level. I’m confident with the race set-up and hopefully we can have some good consistent weather to put on a good show for spectators. It was also nice to get the pole award from Roger Burnett who scored the first ever SBK pole right here at Donington. Twenty-five years on it’s happened to me!”
Loris Baz: “I think things have gone quite well so far and step by step I have been learning the bike. It took some time to get a good feeling on the Superbike, especially from the front, but I found it today. Qualifying went well, I think. I was 18th and only 1.5 seconds from the fastest lap after combined qualifying, so I think that is really good for my first time at a race on the bike. In the final free session I matched my fastest time from the morning qualifying session and then we put on a harder rear tyre, but I crashed in the last corner. That is a shame as I feel I could have improved my best time again in that session. I have no objective for raceday, if I finish 20th I will be happy and if I finish 15th or better I will be really happy!"