Superpole cancelled; Sykes takes pole from QP2
– Tom Sykes to start from pole after Superpole cancellation
Kawasaki rider Tom Sykes will start from pole position in tomorrow’s Superbike World Championship season-opener at Phillip Island.
The cool-headed Sykes completed regulation qualifying this morning in top spot and, following cancellation of the traditional Superpole session which would have determined final grid positions for tomorrow’s two 22-lap races, the Yorkshireman’s hold on pole position became permanent. It is Sykes’ third WSBK pole position on a Kawasaki, the last coming at the Misano (San Marino) round in 2011.
Superpole was cancelled following a fatal incident in the Australian Superstock 600 Championship race at Phillip Island (see statement attached) , which occurred at approximately 2.00pm this afternoon.
Superpole was scheduled to begin at 3.00pm, but was eventually cancelled at 4.00pm. The only on-track action this afternoon will be World Supersport qualifying, where Australia’s Broc Parkes (Honda) has been one of the fastest riders since Friday morning practice.
Sykes will be joined on the front row of the WSBK grid by Aprilia’s Max Biaggi and Ducati pair Carlos Checa and Jakub Smrz.
Checa won both Phillip Island races in 2011 en route to becoming the first Spaniard to win the WSBK title.
Stalking the leading quartet from row two tomorrow will be Sylvain Guintoli (Ducati), Leon Camier (Suzuki), rookie Niccolo Canepa (Ducati) and Briton Jonathan Rea (Honda).
And others looking to lock horns at the front will include highly fancied trio Eugene Laverty (Aprilia), Leon Haslam (BMW) and Marco Melandri (BMW).
Bryan Staring (Kawasaki) will be the first Australian on row five, with countrymen Josh Brookes (Suzuki), Mark Aitchison (BMW) and David Johnson (BMW) all behind him after battling an assortment of set-up issues over the last two days.
The first WSBK race will be held at 12.00pm, and the second at 3.30pm.
Since 1990, Australian riders have won 23 of the 41 WSBK races at Phillip Island, and the international contingent 18.
FINAL QUALIFYING TIMES FOR TOMORROW’S ROUND ONE OF THE 2012 SUPERBIKE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP – PHILLIP ISLAND
1. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1’31.323
2. Max Biaggi (Aprilia Racing Team) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1’31.477
3. Carlos Checa (Althea Racing) Ducati 1098R 1’31.621
4. Jakub Smrz (Liberty Racing Team Effenbert) Ducati 1098R 1’31.783
5. Sylvain Guintoli (Team Effenbert Liberty Racing) Ducati 1098R 1’31.832
6. Leon Camier (Crescent Fixi Suzuki) Suzuki GSX-R1000 1’31.904
7. Niccolò Canepa (Red Devils Roma) Ducati 1098R 1’31.953
8. Jonathan Rea (Honda World Superbike Team) Honda CBR1000RR 1’31.959
9. Maxime Berger (Team Effenbert Liberty Racing) Ducati 1098R 1’31.966
10. Michel Fabrizio (BMW Motorrad Italia GoldBet) BMW S1000 RR 1’32.068
11. Eugene Laverty (Aprilia Racing Team) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1’32.069
12. Leon Haslam (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) BMW S1000 RR 1’32.082
13. Marco Melandri (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) BMW S1000 RR 1’32.123
14. Davide Giugliano (Althea Racing) Ducati 1098R 1’32.198
15. Chaz Davies (ParkinGO MTC Racing) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1’32.338
16. Joan Lascorz (Kawasaki Racing Team) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1’32.411
17. Hiroshi Aoyama (Honda World Superbike Team) Honda CBR1000RR 1’32.576
18. Bryan Staring (Team Pedercini) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1’32.613
19. David Salom (Team Pedercini) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1’32.640
20. Ayrton Badovini (BMW Motorrad Italia GoldBet) BMW S1000 RR 1’32.703
21. Lorenzo Zanetti (PATA Racing Team) Ducati 1098R 1’32.782
22. Joshua Brookes (Crescent Fixi Suzuki) Suzuki GSX-R1000 1’33.384
23. Mark Aitchison (Grillini Progea Superbike Team) BMW S1000 RR 1’33.396
24. Raffaele De Rosa (Team Pro Ride Real Game Honda) Honda CBR1000RR 1’33.401
25. David Johnson (Rossair AEP Racing) BMW S1000 RR 1’33.816
— Althea Ducati Report
A tragic start to the 2012 World Superbike championship when a serious accident occurred during the Australian championship’s Superstock 600 race this afternoon at Phillip Island, proving fatal for young rider Oscar McIntyre, from Queensland, Australia. Team Althea Racing sends its condolences to the family and friends of Oscar McIntyre.
Consequently, the Superpole sessions were cancelled and the Superbike riders grid positions were decided according to the combined qualifying times. Team Althea Racing and its riders Carlos Checa and Davide Giugliano will thus line up in third and fourteenth position respectively on tomorrow’s race grid.
Checa and Giugliano, already fourth and third respectively in yesterday’s first qualifying session, were out on track this morning, determined to make further improvement. On a cooler track with respect to yesterday afternoon, nearly all of the riders were able to improve on their times, Checa included. Mid-session the 2011 champion recorded a 1m31.6 that positioned him second behind Sykes on the Kawasaki. Thanks to that time, Carlos qualified in third position. Unfortunately Giugliano was unable to improve on his best time set in first qualifying but the work done yesterday placed him in fourteenth position at the end of qualifying, enough to enter the Superpole, subsequently cancelled.
In the final practice of the early afternoon, both Althea men worked with their technicians to make final modifications ahead of tomorrow’s races. Checa closed the session in second place, Giugliano twelfth.
As explained above, the race grid was determined according to qualifying times, meaning that Carlos will start from the front row, in third position, while Davide will line up on the fourth row, in fourteenth. Both Althea Racing riders feel ready for the first challenge of the 2012 championship.
Carlos Checa: “First of all I want to send my condolences to McIntyre’s family, a terrible tragedy. Superpole was understandably cancelled as a result. As far as my day was concerned, I can say that qualifying went well. We worked once again on finding a strong race pace and the times came down too. We’ll start from the front row based on the qualifying times which is good news for us. Today I was able to find better pace and am therefore pretty confident for tomorrow. Having said that, it won’t be easy, firstly due to the heat and mainly due to the extra six kilos we have on board, especially when we’re losing 15km/h on the straight to the other riders. I will do my best as always and we’ll see.”
Davide Giugliano: “I was shocked and sorry to hear about McIntyre and send my condolences to his loved ones. To talk about how my day went seems inconsequential but I can say that this morning I had trouble riding in such a strong wind. I didn’t expect that and really had difficulty in the conditions. Starting from the fourth row means I need to get off the line as quickly as possible of course and see what I can do. We’ll have to see how hot it is as I seem to go better the hotter it is; I think the temperatures will condition tomorrow’s races.”