Kawasaki Racing Team rider Jonathan Rea rode his Ninja ZX-10R to his second pole position start of the season by setting a new track best of 1’33.382 near the end of the second Superpole session. Tom Sykes (KRT) placed fourth and will now lead the second row of starters for Sunday’s races. Having set a very fast lap in his first outing in Superpole 2, Rea was subsequently overtaken for a time but he made a successful late attempt to start from the best possible position and it put him out in front for the second time in as many WSBK meetings. Sykes placed himself in a good starting position despite not being able to make the most of his qualifying tyre, finishing up 0.459 seconds from pole but at the head of the second row. Both Rea and Sykes lost dry track time at this all-new circuit when the third session proved to be wet this morning but they each made the most of the final free session shortly before Superpole, working on race pace and learning more about the 4.554km circuit. Conditions were much cooler today than the scorching first day, with track temperatures some 20°C less than they had been – a development which complicated the preparation work done by the teams as they try to prepare for Sunday’s races.
Jonathan Rea: “It’s good to make it two out of two. We know the Kawasaki really takes profit from a soft tyre, especially the qualifier. My pace has been really strong all weekend in race conditions so I knew just to make clean laps in Superpole. But in every lap I made a mistake in T4 – the fast left – so I ended up much too fast and the rear came round, which is a problem I have been working on a little bit. We found some things after we struggled with my back brake at times but we fixed it in this final session. I was able to enter T5 much better. I made a mistake in T1 on the first flying lap and then I saw the time was P1, so I knew not to push too much and just make a clean lap next time. I saw a 1’33.3 near the end of the session and I thought it may not be enough, so I tried again on the third lap with a qualifier, but already the tyre had had enough.”
Tom Sykes: “It has just been unfortunate that I have not been able to use the qualifying tyre on the warm-up lap. In the last third of the lap I had three or four slides on the edge of the tyre, both left and right, but I knew I had to go for a fast lap anyway. I was struggling and it was not what I had expected. I am a little bit disappointed and that is why I tried for a second lap but I was not able to do it. We will work hard tomorrow and try to make two good races in any case.”
David Salom (Kawasaki Team Pedercini) made it into Superpole 2 by right after finishing tenth in regulation qualifying and then proceeded to take 11th place on the grid. He will now start from the fourth row.