Record Pole Lap for Sykes at Donington

Saturday, 28 May 2016 11:05 GMT

Kawasaki rider converts Friday pace into an impressive qualifying run

Another sunny day at Donington Park saw blue skies reign once again as WorldSBK got out on track for Tissot-Superpole 1, with a host of riders fighting for graduation to Superpole 2. Winner last time out in Malaysia, Nicky Hayden, was the benchmark rider in the session and topped the timesheets to lead the charge to the fight for the top ten positions. With Alex Lowes sadly declared unfit, the two graduating riders would be joining nine others in Superpole 2. The second rider to go through was Xavi Fores on the Barni Racing Ducati, who narrowly edged out Honda rider Michael van der Mark, who will subsequently begin the Races at Donington Park from P12.

After a technical glitch for reigning Champion Jonathan Rea in FP3, the Northern Irishman was quick out onto the circuit and set the first representative time in Superpole 2, before Ducati’s Davide Giugliano beat it by under a tenth. Tom Sykes, after being fastest on Friday and having won the last six races at Donington Park, then began to show his trademark pace at home on the parkland circuit and topped the session, from an improved lap by teammate Jonathan Rea.

Times hovered around a second off Sykes’ 2015 Best Lap pace as riders returned to the pits for the final adjustments, and Althea BMW rider Jordi Torres was the first back out on track. With engines fired up once again, red sectors lit up the timing screens and times tumbled as the pack shuffled, and Sykes dealt his hand to smash the Best Lap and put in the first sub 1:27 lap of the Donington Park circuit in WorldSBK – eight tenths ahead of Ducati’s Chaz Davies, who recovered from a technical problem in FP2 to begin the Races from the middle of the front row.

IodaRacing’s Lorenzo Savadori will also enjoy a front row start as the 2015 winner of the STK1000 race at Donington put in a stunning performance to beat reigning Champion Jonathan Rea to P3. KRT rider Rea heads up the second row, ahead of second Racing – Ducati rider Davide Giugliano. Jordi Torres, after heading out early, bagged an impressive lap time to take P6, ahead of Superpole 1 graduate Nicky Hayden’s Fireblade as the American heads the third row.

Leon Camier will begin his home race from P8 on the MV Agusta, ahead of American rider Cameron Beaubier, who is riding as a replacement for Sylvain Guintoli at Pata Yamaha and qualified for his first outing in an impressive P9. Xavi Forés completed the top ten for Barni Racing, with Karel Abraham on the first Milwaukee BMW in P11. Honda’s Van der Mark completes the top 12 despite not graduating to Superpole 2, with Superpole 2 qualifier Alex Lowes having been forced to withdraw from the Round.

Race 1 begins at 15:00 local time in the UK (GMT +1), before Race 2 24 hours later as the WorldSBK grid enjoys the sunshine at Donington Park.