Front row for determined Sykes
RIZLA SUZUKI'S Tom Sykes rose to the occasion and slashed 0.6-secs from yesterday's lap times to secure a front row start in fourth place for tomorrow's final round of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship at Brands Hatch Indy circuit in Kent.
Sykes worked steadily through a raft of chassis and geometry changes to his GSX-R1000 during practice and the all three qualifying sessions, improving his confidence with every step and leaving his fastest lap right until the end.
In bright sunshine at the 1.1986-mile fast and frantic track, Rizla Suzuki's Atsushi Watanabe got through to the second level of qualifying but was knocked out from the final run ending up 12th quickest and on the third row. Local rider and newly crowned Champion Shane Byrne took pole position on a Ducati.
Racing commences at 1400 on Sunday 12th October with race two 1645, both will be broadcast live on Eurosport.
Sykes: "I am happy with the front row. If you get a good start you can force your way uphill and make a place or two and that's my plan. All weekend I have been searching for a balance with my Rizla Suzuki and we have made improvements. We are good for the race and we will try another little change for warm-up to see if we can gain a bit more speed, I hope the weather stays dry it'll make for great races."
Watanabe: "My Rizla Suzuki is getting better and I am OK with 12th place and third row. My feeling for the bike is now good and I think top 10 is possible in races."
Jack Valentine, Rizla Suzuki Team Manager: "That was a mega ride by Tom. He has really pulled his finger out and credit to his crew for making the right changes to his Rizla Suzuki. He's good on race rubber and will be a podium contender in the races.
"Atsu is in good shape in 12th place but the circuit is very short and busy, he will need to be at his aggressive overtaking best in the races if he wants to get into the top 10. It is the final round of the British Superbike Championship and we want to go out in style fighting for the victories - it'll be a long winter before we get the chance to taste champagne again."
1: Shane Byrne (Ducati) 45.799