PORTIMAO, Portugal – Tom Sykes will start the eighth round of the Superbike World Championship from the front of the grid after winning Saturday’s Tissot-Superpole at a very hot and sunny Portimao circuit, his third in a row at the Portuguese track.
A thrilling Superpole 1 saw David Salom (Kawasaki Racing Team) and Sylvain Barrier (BMW Motorrad Italia) progress to join the already seeded top 10 from the combined free practice sessions with the 12 riders then doing battle for the final 15 minute grid deciding shoot-out.
The opening session wasn’t without incident as after four minutes the red flags came out as the marshals tended to Claudio Corti who had fell on the rollercoaster section of the circuit. He was taken to the medical centre for further checks. Toni Elias (Red Devils Roma Aprilia) also failed to record a time as his Aprilia developed a technical problem on his out lap.
In the final 15 minute Superpole 2, the times at the top changed almost every time a rider recorded a time but at the flag and with less than a second covering the top 9 Sykes emerged as the fastest, ahead of Jonathan Rea (Pata Honda World Superbike Team) and Chaz Davies (Ducati Superbike Team) who will join him on row one tomorrow.
Row two will see Marco Melandri (Aprilia Racing Team), Loris Baz (Kawasaki Racing Team) and Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia Racing Team) who recovered from a high speed FP4 crash to claim 6th.
In the battle of the EVO riders, Sylvain Barrier will start 10th and David Salom 11th.