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Another Tissot-Superpole to “Watch-man” Tom Sykes

Assen (The Netherlands), Saturday 27 April 2013 - The top-15 riders from Qualifying faced today the challenge of Tissot-Superpole to secure the best positioning on the grid for tomorrow’s two races at the iconic Assen’s TT Circuit. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) got his 13th pole start of his career, the 2nd in 2013, courtesy of an outstanding 1’35.043. The rider from Huddersfield was not fully satisfied of his achievement and tried, with no success, to further improve Jonathan Rea’s Best Lap from 2010.

Tom Sykes: “The ZX-10R is working well and I was quite happy with my race pace, so when we put the Pirelli qualifying tyre in it was even better. I am happy to be on the front row and even better to be in pole position. I just hope we can have some dry conditions tomorrow. Our decisions are pretty much made on what settings to run but we do have a little bit of discussion to have later, just to confirm things, but I think we know what to do. We put 22 laps on a tyre earlier and were very surprised and happy with the results, so when I am on clear track I can do what I want and I know what’s needed. Tomorrow we will be faced with a bit of a fight maybe but if we can have some good luck I am confident.”

The Pata Honda World Superbike rider himself – who got 4 wins out of the last 6 races at Assen – was 2nd and finally able to turn over a new leaf on his difficult start of the season. Eugene Laverty (Aprilia Racing Team) took the last slot of the first row and preceded his team mate Sylvain Guintoli, with Loris Baz (Kawasaki Racing Team) and Davide Giugliano (Althea Racing Aprilia) to follow.

Jonathan Rea: First of all, I’m just excited to be back in a front row press conference – the last time was the end of last season. I’m looking forward to the races, though; my guys have done some work and I’m feeling very, very comfortable on the bike but we’ve had minimal time so far to put distance on a race tyre. I think we have two options we can have a look at but a lot will depend on the temperature tomorrow. Superpole’s not really my thing, but I felt really confident at the start of Superpole 3 and went out first on a race tyre. Anyway, it’s great to be on the front row for the team’s home race and I just want to send a ‘get well soon’ message to my team-mate, Leon Haslam, who had a big crash on Friday.”

Marco Melandri (BMW Motorrad GoldBet) ended up Superpole in 7th place and was again unable to get a spot in the first two rows (the Italian rider never managed so far in 2013 to get a front row start). Carlos Checa (Team Ducati Alstare) finished 8th ahead of Michel Fabrizio (Red Devils Roma Aprilia). The Spanish rider was 0.3 seconds slower in the end than in Superpole 2 (he would have been 5th with his SP2 lap-time).

A difficult Superpole for Aragon double winner Chaz Davies (BMW Motorrad GoldBet), who will move off tomorrow from 13th place on the grid. The Welshman was kicked out of top-12 in the closing stages of Superpole 1 by Jules Cluzel (FIXI Crescent Suzuki, 10th at the end).

Tissot-Superpole times: 1. Sykes (Kawasaki) 1’35.043 average 172.040 kph; 2. Rea (Honda) 1’35.639; 3. Laverty (Aprilia) 1’35.814; 4. Guintoli (Aprilia) 1’35.973; 5. Baz (Kawasaki) 1’36.166; 6. Giugliano (Aprilia) 1’36.326; 7. Melandri (BMW) 1’36.330; 8. Checa (Ducati) 1’36.438; 9. Fabrizio (Aprilia) 1’37.570; 10. Cluzel (Suzuki); 11. Badovini (Ducati); 12. Neukirchner (Ducati); 13. Davies (BMW); 14. Clementi (BMW); 15. Iannuzzo (BMW).

World Supersport – Sam Lowes on pole position

Sam Lowes (Yakhnich Motorsport Yamaha) got his 7th career pole position at Assen today with an astonishing 1’38.375 lap-time. The young Brit from Lincoln proved once again to be an excellent qualifier and, despite a still injured left hand and wrist, was able to precede the defending Champion Kenan Sofuoglu (Mahi Racing Team India Kawasaki) by 0.643 seconds.

Second Mahi Racing rider and current Championship leader Fabien Foret, after sitting out of yesterday’s Free Practice and Qualifying because of the wet track conditions, made his way up to 3rd place ahead of Irishman Jack Kennedy (Rivamoto Honda) and Italian Roberto Rolfo, in the sharp end of the action onboard his ParkinGO MV Agusta Corse machine.

Aragon podium finisher Luca Scassa (Intermoto Ponyexpres Kawasaki) snatched the last slot of the 2nd row from Russian Vladimir Leonov (Yakhnich Yamaha Motorsport) in the final stages of Qualifying 2 for just 0.008 seconds. It was a difficult Q2 for Dutch star Michael van der Mark (Pata Honda World Supersport), who will move off tomorrow from the 11th grid slot. Pata Honda’s tough day was completed by Lorenzo Zanetti’s 14th place: the Italian rider also crashed out, early on in the session, at Turn 1.

Times: 1. Lowes (Yamaha) 1’38.375 average 166.213 kph; 2. Sofuoglu (Kawasaki) 1’39.018; 3. Foret (Kawasaki) 1’39.266; 4. Kennedy (Honda) 1’39.350; 5. Rolfo (MV Agusta) 1’39.445; 6. Scassa (Kawasaki) 1’39.544; 7. Leonov (Yamaha) 1’39.552; 8. Marino (Kawasaki) 1’39.661; 9. Ivanov (Kawasaki) 1’39.740; 10. Antonelli (Kawasaki) 1’39.815; etc.

Superstock 1000

Eddi La Marra (Barni Racing Team Ducati) secured his first pole position of the season – the 3rd of his career in STK1000 – with a last lap effort which placed him 0.015 ahead of team mate Niccolò Canepa, who was first at the time. Reigning and defending champion Sylvain Barrier (BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK Team) completes the front row for tomorrow’s race and was the last rider in the timesheets to lap within the 1’38 bracket.

The top-3 riders swapped position throughout the session and the closeness of the times foresee a hard-battled race ahead.

Leandro Mercado (Team Pedercini Kawasaki), who scored his maiden STK1000 podium last time out at Aragon, bounced back from a crash sustained yesterday to head row 2 just a fraction ahead of Romain Lanusse (Team MRS Kawasaki) – currently in his rookie season after a year in World Supersport – and Ondrej Jezek (SK Energy – Fany Gastro Ducati), who improved late on to finish 6th.

Times: 1. La Marra (Ducati) 1’38.571 average 165.882 kph; 2. Canepa (Ducati) 1’38.586; 3. Barrier (BMW) 1’38.820; 4. Mercado (Kawasaki) 1’39.338; 5. Lanusse (Kawasaki) 1’39.450; 6. Jezek (Ducati) 1’39.872; 7. Savadori (Kawasaki) 1’39.880; 8. Gildenhuys (BMW) 1’40.136; 9. Guarnoni (Kawasaki) 1’40.175; 10. Bergman (Kawasaki) 1’40.248; etc.

Superstock 600 – Race

Gauthier Duwelz (MTM Racing Team Yamaha) keeps full points lead in the standings after a close battle with his team mate Adrian Nestorovic to get on the top step of the podium in today’s Superstock 600 European Championship Race at Assen. The young Belgian got the inside of Nestorovic to make a successful move entering the ‘Geert Timmer’, on the final lap, and rode the last meters ahead of him to cross the line in first place.

The two riders battled out during the 8-lap race, that was shortened straight after the first start because of crashes involving Dutch wild-card Rob Hartog (NIWA Racing Team Suzuki), Federico D’Annunzio (Pata by Martini Team) and Niki Tuuli (Tuuli Racing Yamaha), who broke his left medial malleolus in the process.

The last part of the race saw 5-way battle for the podium, but despite how close the racing was at the front the fight for the win was mostly about Duwelz and Nestorovic, with Swiss Bastien Chesaux (EAB Ten Kate Junior Honda) crossing the finish line in 3rd place side by side with Dutch wild-card Wayne Tessels (Wanyes Racingteam Suzuki).

Despite a late charge at the front – and the Fastest Lap of the race – Christian Gamarino (Team Goeleven Kawasaki) was 6th ahead of Dutch rider Tony Covena (Nito Racing Kawasaki).

Results: 1. Duwelz (Yamaha) 8 Laps/36.336 km in 13’49.706 average 157.658 kph; 2. Nestorovic (Yamaha) 0.182; 3. Chesaux (Honda) 0.384; 4. Tessels (Suzuki) 0.388; 5. Gamarino (Kawasaki) 0.610; 6. Coveña (Kawasaki) 3.891; 7. Morbidelli (Kawasaki) 4.325; 8. Morrentino (Yamaha) 4.493; 9. Mulhauser (Yamaha) 12.532; 10. Casalotti (Yamaha) 13.250; 11. Marchal (Yamaha) 16.461; 12. Nocco (Kawasaki) 16.952; 13. Vavrous (Kawasaki) 17.318; 14. Salvadori (Yamaha) 17.440; 15. Basic (Yamaha) 17.615; etc.

Standings: 1. Duwelz 50; 2. Chesaux 32; 3. Nestorovic 31; 4. Coveña 30; 5. Mulhauser 20; 6. Gamarino 20; 7. Tessels 19; 8. Morbidelli 19; 9. Casalotti 14; 10. Morrentino 8; 11. Schmitter 7; 12. Marchal 5; 13. Nekvasil 5; 14. Nocco 4; 15. Tuuli 4; etc.

European Junior Cup

The second Pole Position of the PATA European Junior Cup, powered by Honda was claimed by Frenchman Guillaume Raymond (Activebike) who snatched the top spot with his final lap. Conditions at the historic Assen TT Circuit in northern Holland were cold but thankfully dry today, meaning the 35 riders all improved their lap times from yesterday.

Yesterday’s pace setter Kevin Manfredi (Newton Trasformatori) was again at the sharp end but could only manage 7th at the flag as top honours today went to the flying Frenchman. Local wildcard rider Bo Bendsneijder was a brilliant second after holding top spot until the dying seconds, while Michael Canducci (Colors Experience) claimed the final front row position.

The Italian rider making it two front row starts in as many races. Row two will be headed by Adrien Pittet (Swisscare) who appears to be as fast in both wet and dry conditions this weekend. Peter Sebastyen (World Management) took 5th just ahead of his Hungarian compatriot Richard Bodis (Sparta Motorsport) who will complete the second row.

Times: 1. Raymond 1’57.203 average 139.512 kph; 2. Bendsneijder 1’57.713; 3. Canducci 1’58.543; 4. Pittet 1’59.091; 5. Sebestyen 1’59.278; 6. Bodis 1’59.289; 7. Manfredi 1’59.505; 8. Hubner 1’59.573; 9. Orellana 1’59.598; 10. Harland 1’59.895; etc.