KRT one-two as Sykes again squeezes past Rea in closing stages
Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) extended his historic Tissot Superpole record at the Automotodrom Brno with a brilliant final lap. The MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship returned to the Czech Republic in the same way it did six years ago, in the last Saturday here: with ‘Superpoleman’ Sykes leading the way into Race 1.
The Yorkshire rider took his 45th Tissot Superpole in the same way he did at Donington Park, by beating teammate Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) after the checkered flag had come down. Sykes only got one lap on the qualifying tyre, but his 1’57.687 was enough to smash the Brno Superpole record.
Joining both KRT riders on the front row will be Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati), just fourteen thousandths of a second behind Rea. Melandri, winner of three of the last four races at Brno, will be in a prime position to take his first victory since his season-opening double at Philip Island.
After topping the timesheets in Free Practice 4, Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) took the fourth best time in Superpole 2, just squeezing ahead of Eugene Laverty (Milwaukee Aprilia) in fifth, coming through the Superpole 1. Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) closes row 2 in sixth – the same place he started from at Donington, before his maiden WorldSBK win. Could history repeat itself two weeks later?
Leading row three, Lorenzo Savadori (Milwaukee Aprilia) placed his RSV4-RF seventh on the grid, ahead of Loris Baz (GULF ALTHEA BMW Racing Team) in eighth. Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) struggled throughout the fifteen-minute session, and finished 1.324 seconds off the leading pace, in ninth position. The Welshman will need to find the rhythm his Ducati teammate is not lacking if Davies is to remain second in the championship, with Sykes and van der Mark threatening to close the gap in Race 1.
Closing the top ten was Leon Camier (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team), with Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Junior Team) in eleventh after yesterday’s engine failure. Closing row 4 was the surprising Yonny Hernández (Team Pedercini Racing), putting his Kawasaki into Superpole 2 for the first time this season.
Will we see another surprising winner this time around? Join us shortly for what promises to be a fascinating Race 1, at 13:00 local time (11:00 GMT), with all the action available thanks to the WorldSBK VideoPass.