Round One – Phillip Island
With Chris Plumridge
BMW’s Tom Sykes has put in the fastest ever for lap on a World Superbike around Phillip Island to take pole ahead of this afternoon’s opening 22-lap encounter.
The Yorkshireman clocking a 1m29.230 in Superpole for the Yamaha Finance Round for the 2020 Motul FIM Superbike World Championship.
Sykes secured top spot ahead of Scott Redding (Aruba.IT Ducati) in his first WSBK Superpole appearance, with Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki) lining up in third to make it an all UK front row.
Alex Lowes (Kawasaki) was the fastest out of the blocks in the 25-minute session with a 1:30.212 on the soft tyre, with most of the field running the usual race tyre instead of the qualifying tyre.
Rea was on a quick lap four-tenths up halfway around but then lost some time in the final sector to only eclipse Lowes by two-tenths (1:30.025).
Redding had the third fastest time with 1:30.319, van der Mark (PATA Yamaha) sitting in fourth.
After the initial round of ‘banker’ laps in the first ten minutes many riders went back into the pits, with Lowes, Redding, Federico Caracusulo (GRT Yamaha) and Alvaro Bautista (Honda) amongst those still circulating.
Scott Redding had a flying lap ruined through Lukey Heights by Alvaro Bautista before a red flag. Xavi Fores (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) had dumped almost his entire belly pan off his Kawasaki on the front straight, sending shattered carbon fibre across the track like confetti.
After the clean-up crew had done their thing, pit-lane opened once again. We were poised ready to start talking about Redding who was looking quick in the first two sectors when Alvaro Bautista went flying through the gravel trap at the Hayshed and out of contention. Bautista came into the corner too hot, got onto the grass and pitched himself into the dirt and his bike into orbit. His best time until that point was a 1:30.963, ending the session a distant 15th.
Eugene Laverty (BMW) put in a 1:30.369 as one of the first on the qualifying tyre, said to be good for one lap and one lap only. He was sixth.
Team-mate Tom Sykes fared rather better, three-tenths up at the second split, then going to the top of the time-sheets with a new fastest ever lap round the Island, 1m29.230.
Redding got caught up in out-lap traffic once again, still struggling to find a clear shot at a flyer.
Lowes in third was getting huge speed out of the Kawasaki, clocking 322km/h through the speed trap.
Jonathan Rea and Scott Redding were line astern across the line and both briefly laid claim to second spot behind Sykes- Rea was first with a 1:29.598 before Redding finally got the tow he wanted to clock a 1:29.569. By the time the clock reached zero the BMW team was already celebrating, with Sykes claiming the first pole position on offer for 2020.
Sykes took pole
That also marked the 50th pole for Tom Sykes, the most pole positions ever recorded in World Superbike.
Race 1 of Yamaha Finance Round of the 2020 Motul FIM Superbike World Championship will take place at Phillip Island this afternoon at 1500.
Round One – Phillip Island
Tissot Superpole Results
|1||T. Sykes||S1000 RR||1m29.230||309.5|
|2||S. Redding||V4 R||+0.339||314.9|
|3||J. Rea||Kawasaki ZX-10RR||+0.368||315.8|
|4||T. Razgatlioglu||YZF R1||+0.539||314.0|
|6||M. Van Der Mark||YZF R1||+0.633||316.7|
|7||L. Baz||YZF R1||+0.740||301.7|
|12||F. Caricasulo||YZF R1||+1.139||314.0|
|13||E. Laverty||S1000 RR||+1.139||310.3|
|14||M. Rinaldi||V4 R||+1.563||315.8|
|16||C. Davies||Panigale V4 R||+1.736||318.6|
|17||G. Gerloff||YZF R1||+1.997||311.2|