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Donington WSBK: Sykes sets provisional pole

Kawasaki’s Tom Sykes proved he was the man to beat at Doningotn Park, setting the fastest time of 1’30.278 in the first World Superbike qualifying practice session at a very wet and windy Donington Park but then slipped off as a shower dampened the circuit.

Huddersfield’s finest was never outside the top five for the 45 minute session, and went to the top of the timesheets for the first time on his third lap, only to be overtaken by Althea Racing’s Davide Giugliano and Sykes’s own team-mate Loris Baz. But the Brit was not down in third place for long, as on his sixth lap soared to the top, and that is where he remained for the rest of the qualifying practice.

But the Kawasaki rider’s session was cut short when he crashed with eight minutes remaining, and he fell at the Old Hairpin due to the wet conditions out on track, and not long before he crashed the white flags made another appearance, as rain started to fall on part of the Lincolnshire circuit.


Sykes was not the only one to take a tumble at the Old Hairpin, Fixi Crescent Suzuki’s Jules Cluzel fell in exactly the same place. After the crashes only Aprilia’s Sylvain Guintoli decided to go back on track, and the Frenchman finished the session fourth with a time of 1’31.792.

Pata Honda’s Jonathan Rea did clock the fastest time on his first lap in the qualifying practice, but he was not able to match the pace of Sykes and the Isle Of Man resident had to contend with the second fastest time of 1’31.560, one second slower than that set by Sykes.

Goldbet BMW’S Marco Melandri had a consistent session and was hovering between setting the second and third fastest times throughout the 45 minute qualifying practice, but he was narrowly pipped to the post by Rea, and the former MotoGP racer finished with the third fastest time of 1’31.571.

Davide Guigliano recovered from his crash this morning to set the fifth fastest time on his satellite Aprilia, one place behind the works item of Sylvain Guintoli, while Leon Camier parked his Fixi Suzuki in sixth.

Chaz Davies was eighth and 1.8s off the pace with Eugene Laverty and Loris Baz rounding out the top ten. Leon Haslam put in a valiant effort with his broken leg, finishing 14th and inside the cut-off for Superpole should the weather worsen tomorrow.

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