Kawasaki : Modern Era Superpole King Sykes Turns 21

Kawasaki : Modern Era Superpole King Sykes Turns 21The Superpole exploits of Tom Sykes became even more legendary during the FIM Superbike World Championship race weekend at Misano as he scored his 21st career Superpole win at new track best pace, equalling Carl Fogarty’s Superpole total in the process.

Loris Baz (Kawasaki Racing Team) worked his way to a starting slot in fourth place after Superpole 2 as he found his best pace of the weekend on the second lap riding with a qualifying rear tyre.

David Salom (Kawasaki Racing Team SBK Evo) made it to Superpole 1 but was only just unable to make progress into Superpole 2 by one position as he starts the races on Sunday from 13th place on the grid, which equates to a fifth row start.

Sykes scored his second Superpole win of the season on his Ninja ZX-10R, after his first at Motorland Aragon, with a new track best lap of 1’34.883. Tom and his pit crew made set-up changes to his machine to allow for the extra grip and drive allowed by Pirelli’s qualifying tyres. He then rediscovered his often peerless ability to set fast single laps and in taking his latest Superpole victory he is now third equal in the Superpole win rankings.

Sykes has some way to go to reach the all-time SBK pole record of 43, set by one of his racing idols Troy Corser, but Tom now needs five more Superpole wins to go equal second with another SBK former champion, Troy Bayliss, who has 26 poles to his credit.

For Sykes and his team-mate Baz attention now turns to the 21-lap races on Sunday, with Sykes looking to add to his 2014 season total of four wins and Baz looking for his first victory of the season.

Tom Sykes: “The support from the Italian fans has been fantastic as always. I have been happy with my pace over race distance since the start but I knew it was over one lap that I really needed to attack the circuit. The people around me are very, very special and they were able to adapt the bike so that when we put the Pirelli qualifying tyre in I was able to do well and take Superpole. I was very happy with the character of the bike and I was able to move the bike from one side of the track to the other side of the track and hit each apex as I wanted to. We are always learning and I think we have done a fantastic job. To take the circuit record from one of my racing heroes, and a very, very talented rider like Troy Corser is a very proud moment for me.”

Loris Baz: “We are not so far off and honestly I knew it was going to be hard in Superpole because since the beginning of the weekend we have been struggling a little bit on new tyres. But in a race simulation this morning I was quite fast at the end, maybe even faster than the beginning, which is the first time I have done that in three years! I knew that with new tyres in Superpole it was going to be a little bit hard so I am happy to go fourth today. I am really confident for the race because our pace looks good.”

David Salom: “Not too bad but I just missed getting into Superpole 2. In qualifying practice today I had a little problems with our front tyre option and I was 19th, but in free practice I tried a different front tyre choice and my lap times were good. My rhythm was also good. In Superpole I tried hard for just one lap, on my own, so there is a difference if you do not ride with another rider. The most important thing is the lap-by-lap pace for the races on Sunday, and that seems positive.”