Sunday, August 2

SYKES GETS KAWASAKI BACK ON TOP

Tom Sykes was delighted with his 28th career Superpole 
and the Tissot watch that goes with it.
Some great work from the Spanish Kawasaki Racing Team saw Tom Sykes grab his 28th career Superpole for the Malaysian round of the eni Superbike World Championship at the sweltering Sepang International Circuit on Saturday afternoon.
In the first three pre-qualifying sessions, Sykes and his team-mate Jonathan Rea had been struggling to get near the front but in the free practice session before the Superpole shoot-outs began, Sykes improved his lap time by more than half a second in his first lap.  By the end of the 30 minute session he had recorded his best lap of the weekend to that point, a 2m 04.557s with Rea just a whisker slower.

"We were a little bit behind to start with as we had a big schedule of work this weekend and had to compromise on it because of the session we missed yesterday in the rain," Sykes explained.

"That is the same for everybody so overall I am relatively happy. We did what we wanted to do in Free Practice 4.  The bike settings came good and I was really happy for that.  In FP3 we stayed on a harder tyre all session just to evaluate some things and we almost got caught out.  On paper, seventh at that point may have looked bad, but in reality it was not the case and we moved back up the order.  I think tomorrow will be interesting and we do not look in bad shape, so I am relatively confident.  The weather may be a bit hit and miss but we are set-up now for dry conditions.”

Sykes' 28th career Tissot watch was a nice present after his wife had earlier given birth to their second child.
His Superpole winning lap, 2m 03.240s did not quite match the pole record set by Sylvain Guintoli last year.  That stands at 2m 03.002s.

Jordi Torres was fastest in regular qualifying
 and ended up second in Superpole.
 Alongside Sykes on the front row will be Jordi Torres (Aprilia Racing Team – Red Devils) who claimed a second successive front row start after Laguna Seca while Sylvain Guintoli rounds out the front row, his first of the season with Pata Honda.

Max Biaggi (Aprilia Racing Team) improved with his final lap to ensure he heads row two, ahead of Sam Lowes (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki) who had to progress through Superpole One to have a shot at the front row,  and Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati SBK Team).
Row three of the grid comprises Jonathan Rea who wrestled his Kawasaki to seventh, Leon Haslam (Aprilia Racing Team) and Niccolo Canepa (Althea Racing Ducati).

For the Superpole 
results, click here

Sam Lowes put the Suzuki GSX-R1000 on the second row of the Sepang grid.