WSB: Sykes storms to Donington Park pole, Hickman surprises!


A topsy-turvy grid sees a jumbled-up order as Tom Sykes takes a 49th career pole and heads an all-British front row!

After the sun shone on Friday, unfortunately the typically inclement British weather turned nasty on the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship. A whole host of riders had their moments in the spotlight at the top and in the end, it would be Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) who finished on top, whilst Alvaro Bautista (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati) was back on row two.

As the session unfolded, riders such as Alessandro Delbianco (Althea Mie Racing Team), Loris Baz (Ten Kate Racing – Yamaha) and Leandro Mercado (Orelac Racing VerdNatura) all had strong openings to the session, as the tricky conditions saw those with little to lose come to the fore. However, crashes soon came and Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team) was the first to fall at the final turn. Soon after, Alessandro Delbianco took a small tumble, but remounted to return to the pits.

Times continued to fall as the track dried out and riders soon put on the slick tyres, with Tom Sykes making the most of his tyre choice to lay down the benchmark. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) was able to challenge his former teammate, but Tom Sykes kept edging clear, eventually finishing 0.993s ahead of the reigning WorldSBK champion. Sykes took his 49th career pole, whilst giving BMW just their second pole. Completing the front row to the cheer of the crowd, Leon Haslam (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) – who made it three consecutive years with two Kawasakis on the front row.

Heading up the second row, it was a sensational performance from Peter Hickman (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team), who made it two BMWs inside the top four for the first time this season after Tissot Superpole. The replacement rider will look to capitalise from his strong starting position at his home circuit in Race 1 later on. Loris Baz was the first non-British rider on the grid, completing the session as top Yamaha and top Independent in fifth, whilst championship leader Alvaro Bautista was only sixth, at a circuit he has not looked at-one with his machine.

Row three features Toprak Razgatlioglu (Turkish Puccetti Racing), who took his best Tissot Superpole grid placing of the season and his joint-best of his career. Alex Lowes recovered from his small tip-off at Goddard’s to come back into eighth place on the grid, after looking strong on Friday. Ninth place belonged to Marco Melandri (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK), who was as high as first at one point in the session. Chaz Davies completed the top ten on his ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati, as he looks to put on a good show at home.

Notable names outside of the top ten include Jordi Torres (Team Pedercini Racing) in 11th, Ryuichi Kiyonari (Moriwaki Althea Honda Team), who took his best Tissot Superpole placing since Misano in 2009 and his best of the season, whilst Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team) was down in 16th on his comeback.

  1. Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) 1’27.619
  2. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +0.993
  3. Leon Haslam (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +1.579
  4. Peter Hickman (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) +1.729
  5. Loris Baz (Ten Kate Racing – Yamaha) +1.902
  6. Álvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) +1.942

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