World Superbike Laguna Seca Superpole qualifying: Sykes on pole with lap record

Kawasaki's Mr. Superpole sets new superbike lap record for circuit on way to pole; Sylvain Guintoli and Chaz Davies complete front row

world superbike laguna seca superpole tom sykes kawasaki

Although it initially appeared to many during the latter half of the SP2 Superpole qualifying session that Kawasaki's Tom Sykes was out of the running for pole position, those who had watched his performance during the practice sessions earlier in the day knew better. On race rubber, Kawasaki's reigning World Superbike champion was consistently at or near the top of the leaderboard and churning out consistently fast laps, putting the Brit at the top of the final FP4 practice session. And Sykes certainly didn't disappoint in Superpole, laying down a scorching 1:21.811 lap that was not only good enough for pole position by more than half a second over his nearest competitor Sylvain Guintoli, but also set the new superbike lap record for the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca circuit nestled in the hills of Monterey, California. The pole position was Sykes' fourth of the season, and the 23rd WSBK pole of his career.

Aprilia's Guintoli had to settle for second spot, with Ducati's Chaz Davies (who spent some time in the US racing in the AMA series) filling out the front row. Davies' teammate Davide Giugliano, Guintoli's teammate Marco Melandri, and Voltcom Suzuki's Eugene Laverty occupy the second row. The EBRs of Geoff May and Aaron Yates qualified 22nd and 25th respectively, with both US wildcard riders qualifying for the field; Foremost Insurance/Pegram Racing's Larry Pegram is just behind May in 23rd, with Geico Honda's Chris Ulrich qualifying in 26th spot.

“It’s been very exciting," said Sykes about qualifying. "You know, I knew we’ve been struggling a little bit all weekend. We know some of our competitors are very strong here. Slowly but surely we’ve got the Ninja much better and I’m a lot more confident for tomorrow. Like the guys have said, it’s crucial to be on the front row. We put the Pirelli qualifying tire in and had a little stab at it. The Ninja got a little bit fruity on me down the Corkscrew but we came out the other side, made it up and I’m happy, a great lap time. The boys have worked hard; it’s going to be close tomorrow, there’s a lot of guys with a great race pace, so I’m looking forward to it.”

World Superbike Laguna Seca Superpole qualifying results:

Pos. Rider Country Machine Time
1. Tom Sykes (GBR) Kawasaki 1:21.811
2. Sylvain Guintoli (FRA) Aprilia 1:22.339
3. Chaz Davies (GBR) Ducati 1:22.384
4. Davide Giugliano (ITA) Ducati 1:22.422
5. Marco Melandri (ITA) Aprilia 1:22.704
6. Eugene Laverty (IRL) Suzuki 1:22.725
7. Leon Haslam (GBR) Honda 1:23.181
8. Loris Baz (FRA) Kawasaki 1:23.242
9. Toni Elias (SPA) Aprilia 1:23.358
10. Jonathan Rea (GBR) Honda 1:23.501
11. Alex Lowes (GBR) Suzuki 1:23.562
12. Niccolo Canepa (ITA) Ducati 1:23.924
13. Sylvain Barrier (FRA) BMW EVO 1:23.840 (SP1)
14. Christian Iddon (GBR) Bimota EVO 1:24.024 (SP1)
15. David Salom (SPA) Kawasaki EVO 1:24.227 (SP1)
16. Ayrton Badovini (ITA) Bimota EVO 1:25.301 (SP1)
17. Bryan Staring (AUS) Kawasaki EVO 1:25.986 (SP1)
18. Sheridan Morias (RSA) Kawasaki EVO 1:25.021 (SP1)
19. Leon Camier (GBR) MV Agusta 1:25.157 (SP1)
20. Alessandro Andreozzi (ITA) Kawasaki EVO 1:25.383 (SP1)
21. Jeremy Guarnoni (FRA) Kawasaki EVO 1:26.080 (FP)
22. Geoff May (USA) EBR 1:26.087 (FP)
23. Larry Pegram (USA) EBR 1:26.302 (FP)
24. Gabor Rizmayer (HUN) BMW EVO 1:26.506 (FP)
25. Aaron Yates (USA) EBR 1:26.999 (FP)
26. Chris Ulrich (USA) Honda 1:27.169 (FP)
27. Peter Sebestyen (HUN) BMW EVO 1:27.226 (FP)