Sunday, April 1


ENGLISHMAN Tom Sykes gave the new-look Kawasaki Superbike team its second successive pole position when he clocked a blazing 1m 47.748s lap on the ZX-10R in Superpole 3 at Imola on Saturday afternoon .

Sykes was the only rider to break under the 1m 47.00s barrier all weekend on the resurfaced Italian track, where he gave Kawasaki his first Superbike pole in 2010. However, two years ago Sykes did that in damp conditions - this time the track was a baking hot 42 degrees with air temperature 26 degrees Celcius.

Sykes' stunning lap came in just one thrust: he went out, warmed up the tyres then nailed the Kawasaki for one flying lap before easing off to cruise back around to the pits.

His time was well under Carlos Checa's pole record of 1m 47.196s at 165.770 km/h set on the Althea Ducati 1198R last year in Superpole 3.

After being consistently fast in all four sessions before Superpole, Checa was unable to better Syke's stunning Superpole 3 lap, recording third fastest time, 1m 47.423s. This was slower than his best lap of the weekend, 1m 47.005s set in Superpole 1.

Second place on the grid went to Team Effenbert Liberty Racing's Sylvain Guintoli with a 1m 47.221s effort. The Frenchman, like Checa, had been clicking off consistently fast laps all weekend so it will be interesting to see if he maintains that in Sunday's races.

While Sykes was not quite as consistent as the two Ducati riders, he certainly gave the Kawasaki team plenty of inspiration with his super fast lap to take pole.

BMW's Leon Haslam, who had been by no means consistent in practice, once again dug deep to grab the final front row position with a best of 1m 47.458s.

Max Biaggi (Aprilia Racing Team) made it to the head of the second row, fifth overall. Marco Melandri (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) went sixth at his home circuit while Jonathan Rea (Honda World Superbike Team) was seventh but suffered a very fast high-side crash, walking away after a heavy impact on the tarmac. The last place on the second row went to Joan Lascorz (Kawasaki Racing Team).

So the Kawasaki team bracketted the first two rows with fastest and eighth fastest times.