It had to end sometime, only Kawasaki’s Tom Sykes was hoping that he would’ve been able to at least match the record of seven consecutive World Superbike pole positions by American Ben Spies—not end with him sitting by the side of the racetrack while the others battled for grid positions. Sykes was looking as if he would be well on his way to a seventh pole position for 2013 at Moscow Raceway, after topping the timesheets in practice and qualifying, but as he rounded the long right-hand turn three in the final Superpole 3 session, the championship leader lost the front and crashed out. Because WSBK riders are no longer allowed a spare bike this year as part of cost-cutting mandates, Sykes was unable to continue the session, leaving him in ninth spot on the outside of the third row since he was the last of the nine qualifiers in the Superpole 3 session.
Sykes’ misfortune led to Althea Racing Aprilia’s Davide Giugliano garnering the first WSBK pole position of his career. The Italian’s time was almost two-tenths quicker than BMW Goldbet’s Chaz Davies, with Aprilia’s Eugene Laverty just over a tenth behind Davies.
“It's hugely satisfying for me and my team,” remarked Giugliano, “and I must thank the guys for all the help they're giving me. After a few races in which we have gained the necessary experience with our new bike, now we are at a very competitive level.
“We still have to improve the sensation with the front of the bike, but we are clearly on the right path. It's very satisfying to fight with and beat the official riders and teams.
“As far as tomorrow's races are concerned, I hope to be able to fight for the win. The two races will be difficult and despite his crash today Sykes will surely be there too. The weather is also an unknown and right now it looks like rain is forecast.”
Sykes wasn’t overly disappointed about his qualifying crash, and knows he has the pace to get up to the front in both races on Sunday. “I just lost the front at the very last moment in turn three. It is a shame but sometimes these things happen. It is a small mistake and it means that we will start on row three, so it is a mistake with not a very big consequence. In this respect it is not so bad and tomorrow, in the races, is where you make up points. I am still confident with the settings of the Ninja ZX-10R for this track. I just need to make a clean start each time and continue in a good way. Pace in general has been strong and the lap times are good, which we saw in Superpole 1 when I was using a race tyre. It will be 25 laps each time so there will be long races here. In Imola I dropped to fourth at the very beginning and then had time to react so hopefully we have lots of time tomorrow to make the correction for today’s small mistake.”
World Superbike Russia Superpole qualifying results:
1. Davide Giugliano (ITA) Aprilia 1:34.676
2. Chaz Davies (GBR) BMW 1:34.833
3. Eugene Laverty (IRL) Aprilia 1:34.934
4. Jonathan Rea (GBR) Honda 1:35.058
5. Marco Melandri (ITA) BMW 1:35.115
6. Carlos Checa (SPA) Ducati 1:35.220
7. Jules Cluzel (FRA) Suzuki 1:35.256
8. Sylvain Guintoli (FRA) Aprilia 1:36.113
9. Tom Sykes (GBR) Kawasaki – no time
10. Leon Camier (GBR) Suzuki 1:35.761
11. Max Neukirchner (GER) Ducati 1:35.788
12. Loris Baz (FRA) Kawasaki 1:36.033
13. Leon Haslam (GBR) Honda 1:36.069
14. Ayrton Badovini (ITA) Ducati 1:36.286
15. Michel Fabrizio (ITA) Aprilia 1:36.329
16. Federico Sandi (ITA) Kawasaki 1:38.048
17. Vittorio Iannuzzo (ITA) BMW 1:39.079
18. Lorenzo Savadori (ITA) Kawasaki 1:39.504