AS WILDCARD SYKES STYLES
Heavy rain dashed Team Alstare Suzuki's chance of good grid positions during the first day of qualifying for Sunday's 11th-round World Superbike event at Donington Park in the UK yesterday
Fonsi Nieto, Yukio Kagayama and Max Neukirchner took things cautiously, finishing 16th, 19th and 23rd, mainly due to problems with lack of rear grip.
Series leader Troy Bayliss splashed his way round the 4.023 kilometre track and recorded the day's best time of 1:44.377. Second quickest is Ryuichi Kiyonari (Honda) with Cal Crutchlow (Honda) third and Tom Sykes (Suzuki) fourth.
Fonsi Nieto - 16th, 1:47.344:
"Today was very difficult for all of us and most of us had problems with grip, particularly in the rear. The track felt very slippery and it was difficult to get any feeling for what was happening with the tyres. The afternoon qualifying session was a bit better and I was able to go a bit faster. I had a small crash in the afternoon when I lost the rear in the first corner, but I wasn't injured at all.
Yukio Kagayama - 19th, 1:47.934:
"I did not like the conditions today and I wasn't so happy because I could not get any rear grip. We changed some settings for the afternoon and it was a little better but then the rain became heavier. We will analyse the data, make some changes and hopefully we will have more grip tomorrow."
Max Neukirchner - 23rd, 1:48.724:
"For me, it was not possible to go any faster then I did. The set up of my bike wasn't right in the morning but we managed to make some changes and improve it for qualifying in the afternoon. Then we made some changes for the last five laps and I think we went in the wrong direction. I feel we have a lot of information about what to do know. I crashed in the slippery conditions this afternoon and hurt my bum a bit. But it's not going to cause me any problems tomorrow and I am positive we can make some big improvements to the bike and my lap times...
Friday WSB qualifying: 1 Bayliss (Aus-Ducati) 1:44.377, 2 Kiyonari (J-Honda) 1:44.528, 3 Crutchlow (GB-Honda) 1:44.627, 4 Tom Sykes (GB-Rizla Suzuki) 1:44.682, 5 Haslam (GB-Honda) 1:44.813, 6 Biaggi (I-Ducati) 1:45.384, 7 Xaus (E-Ducati) 1:45.725, 8 Checa (E-Honda) 1:45.936, 9 Lavilla (E-Honda) 1:46.044, 10 Ellison (Honda) 1:46.392. 16 Fonsi Nieto (E-Suzuki Alstare) 1:47.344. 19 Yukio Kagayama (Suzuki Alstare) 1:47.834. 23 Max Neukirchner (D-Alstare Suzuki) 1:48.724.
RIZLA SUZUKI REPORT:
Rizla Suzuki's Tom Sykes is on the provisional front row for round 11 of this weekend's World Superbike double-header after finishing this afternoon's first wet qualifying session in fourth place at Donington Park.
The Rizla Suzuki team spent the free practice session fine tuning Sykes's machine which paid dividends during qualifying. Sykes's World Superbike qualifying time was five seconds faster than his time set at the British Superbike round at Donington Park and two seconds clear of the pole time for that event, showing just how much progress the team has made with its wet settings.
With wet weather forecast for tomorrow, it looks like Sykes will be on for another strong showing during second qualifying and Superpole. Sykes and his Rizla Suzuki team are sure there is more to come and are aiming for a front-row start.
Jack Valentine - Rizla Suzuki Team Manager:
"I'm really pleased with how we have started out; we have been on the pace from the off. The team has worked really hard on the set-up of Tom's Rizla Suzuki and we're constantly making changes in the right direction. Tom has responded to those alterations and has been running consistently at the front. We now have a really good wet set-up which is reflecting in our lap times so I can't wait to see what Tom and our technicians can achieve tomorrow."
SUPERSTOCK 1000 REPORT:
Team Alstare Suzuki rider Xavi Simeon ended the first day of qualifying with the second quickest time despite difficult conditions.
Brendan Roberts (Ducati) set the day's fastest lap, just a tenth of a second quicker then Simeon.
Xavi Simeon - 2nd, 1:49.603:
"Although I was second fastest today I am not happy because I made a little mistake on my best lap and so it could've been good enough for pole. I also had some problems with my visor misting up and that made it difficult to see exactly where I was going! My bike felt fast today and although the conditions were difficult, I felt I could go fast. I know I have to get a really good result on Sunday in order to have any chance of the title, but I will be trying my hardest for sure.
Friday Superstock qualifying: 1 Roberts (Aus-Ducati) 1:49.474, 2 Xavi Simeon (B-Alstare Suzuki) 1:49.603, 3 Kirkham (GB-Yamaha) 1:49.995, 4 Seaton (Aus-Suzuki) 1:50.479, 5 Polita (I-Ducati) 1:50.857, 6 Pirro (I-Yamaha)) 1:51.127.