2013 Donington World Superbike Superpole Results: Three Sessions In The Sun

Glorious English sunshine ensured that Superpole would come down to the riders and their bikes, without the added chaotic element weather can bring.

Jonathan Rea set the target lap, but the top spot was quickly taken off him by Tom Sykes. Sylvain Guintoli closed to within a thousandth of a second but Sykes just opened up the gap by two more tenths of a second. Loris Baz, Jules Cluzel and Carlos Checa, and others, spent a qualifier to avoid being dropped off in the first session. Baz and Davide Giugliano, at the end of the session, were able to post the second and third fastest times until Chaz Davies on a qualifier stole second fastest ahead of Leon Camier who took third.

Leon Haslam, along with Ayrton Badovini and Michel Fabrizio, failed to get through to the second Superpole session.

Superpole two was opened with riders taking the top spot in succession until Tom Sykes, on his first lap, broke the outright lap record with a 1'27.560 using the first of his two sets of qualifying tyres. The Aprilias of Eugene Laverty and Sylvain Guintoli posted second and third fastest times and sat on their laurels, knowing they'd done enough to ensure they'd be in the final session. Carlos Checa failed to advance as he caught Jonathan Rea, the rider he was aiming to eliminate, at the apex of the Melbourne Loop, balking his last hope for Superpole 3.

Nine riders fought to determine the front three rows of the grid, with at least one bike from every manufacturer competing in Superpole 3. Jonathan Rea was once again the first man to finish a lap. Sykes blasted out a 1'27.491, faster still than his own lap record only to blitz it on his second lap with a 1'27.378, confidently rubbing it in everyone's faces.

Sylvain Guintoli, at the site of his near career-ending accident when he was competing in British Superbikes, qualified in the middle of the front row with his teammate Eugene Laverty in third place. Jonathan Rea and Leon Camier thwarted Marco Melandri, showing that the power of a fast bike isn't enough at Donington.

Results after Superpole 3:

Pos No. Rider Bike Time Gap Speed
1 66 T. SYKES Kawasaki ZX-10R 1'27.378   269,6
2 50 S. GUINTOLI Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1'27.716 0.338 270,9
3 58 E. LAVERTY Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1'28.014 0.636 270,2
4 65 J. REA Honda CBR1000RR 1'28.139 0.761 266,9
5 2 L. CAMIER Suzuki GSX-R1000 1'28.252 0.874 263,0
6 33 M. MELANDRI BMW S1000 RR 1'28.280 0.902 270,9
7 19 C. DAVIES BMW S1000 RR 1'28.644 1.266 264,3
8 34 D. GIUGLIANO Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1'28.779 1.401 264,3
9 59 N. CANEPA Ducati 1199 Panigale R 1'29.318 1.940 261,1
    Did not qualify for Superpole 3        
10 7 C. CHECA Ducati 1199 Panigale R 1'28.454 0.894 261,7
11 16 J. CLUZEL Suzuki GSX-R1000 1'28.844 1.284 266,9
12 76 L. BAZ Kawasaki ZX-10R 1'28.850 1.290 264,9
    Did not qualify for Superpole 2        
13 91 L. HASLAM Honda CBR1000RR 1'29.172 0.978 262,3
14 86 A. BADOVINI Ducati 1199 Panigale R 1'29.211 1.017 264,3
15 84 M. FABRIZIO Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1'29.214 1.020 264,9
    Did not qualify for Superpole 1        
16 27 M. NEUKIRCHNER Ducati 1199 Panigale R 1'30.817 2.017 259,2
17 23 F. SANDI Kawasaki ZX-10R 1'32.010 3.210 257,9
18 31 V. IANNUZZO BMW S1000 RR 1'32.145 3.345 254,9
19 5 A. LUNDH Kawasaki ZX-10R 1'33.141 4.341 252,5


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Looks like these three are the top of the class in 2013. You can't count out Melandri, Davies and perhaps a couple of others for wins, but certainly seems that Sykes, Laverty and Guintoli are most likely to be the contenders for the championship this year.

I think Marco will be mixing it up with them pretty quickly. They had a crappy start to the season, with Marco being injured and then getting taken out in Australia, but they came on very strong mid-season last year, and the bike has gotten nothing but better since.

Rea completely ruined Checa's fast lap which would have put Rea out. If it had been the other way around Rea would be crying a river.

There is no question that Tom Sykes came of age as a Superbike World Championship contender in 2012 and this year he is right up there. I note that in FP2 he ran 11 laps in the 1m 28s range, a feat none of the others got near. With the Aprilias and BMWs unable to really use the top-end advantage they maximised at Monza, the Kawasaki could end up in the lead of the Superbike Championship. He just needs to make sure he does not get torpedoed by an over-enthusiastic late-braker...

I read elsewhere that he has beaten Dani Pedrosa's MotoGP lap records at Donington: http://www.kiwiridernews.com/2013/05/kawasaki-zx-10r-breaks-donington-mo...

Go Tom!

Odds and ends...Rea is riding the wheels off that underpowered Honda, tough to over rate him. Sorry to see such slow development of the Panigale, that is a neat bike that seems way behind its potential. Kawi seems a bit easier on tires which is nice. Camier AND Suzuki deserve a round of applause.
Two points, both obvious but still noteworthy: every time I see the grid lined up I well with sadness, like watching a family holiday dinner while several family members are off to war and someone beloved has died. No kidding, the dwindled grid is a real loss. There are a dozen racers not here, and Yamaha has a wonderful bike collecting dust and I await their return.
On a brighter note it is a joy to watch the vastly differing behaviors of the varied bike pedegrees excelling this season. We all remember all too well the 'Ducati cup' days. Don't worry, that Panigale will win a race. Enjoy watching the BMW on rails, the loose gruntie Kawi, rider friendly limit beckoning Honda, and mighty mite miraculous Aprilia swap spots via their relative strengths. What a joy to behold!
Btw, doesn't Chas Davies and his BMW look made for one another? Chiseled of the same stock.

There was recently a interview with Chris Pike, Rea's crew chief and he said contrary to popular belief the "Fireblade" is not down on horsepower to any of the other bikes on the grid. Besides that he pointed out that it's the most developed bike on the grid by far.