Published on 21 Apr 2012 by Toni M.
The extremely variable weather at the “Cathedral” of motorcycle racing at Assen saw Tom Sykes prevail over the rest of the field with an amazing and untouchable Superpole.
The Kawasaki rider who is currently third in the standings, is on form in both wet and dry conditions, so he’ll be the man to beat tomorrow regardless of whatever the weather will have in store for the third round of the season.
Reigning World Champion and points leader Carlos Checa has been slightly undertone so far this weekend never hitting the top of the timesheets as we’ve come to expect from him, but watch out for the Althea Ducati rider on the race distance where he’ll make a difference.
Max Biaggi came to Assen saying “there is no margin for even the smallest error” but the Aprilia rider didn’t even make into Superpole and so far he’s be very off pace all weekend long unable to find the proper set-up and lagging in the back of the field, but expect a slingshot start from the Roman Emperor especially if race 1 is dry.
Rider quotes following Assen Superpole:
Tom Sykes - 1st
“It is a fantastic feeling and firstly I want to thank the Kawasaki Racing Team because they have done a great job. They have given me the correct package to let me win Superpole three times in a row, so hopefully we can make it last. On my last qualifying tyre today I had to dig deep because I saw I had some pressure from Jonathan Rea. When I crossed the line I was one second up and was very happy to have been that fast, because I thought I had improved only two or three tenths. For tomorrow I hope we can convert it - third time lucky. Obviously we had some bad news from the Imola tests so hopefully this is something for Joan to smile about and hopefully we can give him something to smile about tomorrow. I am looking forward to the race. Like my rivals have said already it is going to be tricky because of the expected weather conditions but it should be very exciting.”
Jonathan Rea – 2nd
I’m really happy to be back on the front row! All weekend we’ve been fast in all sessions and in all conditions, which have been very changeable, and the guys have got me out to learn the bike each time. I was quite happy with my Superpole 1 – it seemed good, but the bike was transformed with a qualifying tyre in Superpole 2 and I wasn’t able to push as hard because of some chatter from the front. But the good news is that we don’t have to race with a qualifier and we can go tomorrow with a set-up that I think is OK to race. In the wet, I still want to try some more things, but in the dry we’re ready to race, although the tyre decision will be critical again, like in Imola. It’s nice to be near the front though, and it’s a little gift to the guys back at the workshop, who are continuing to work as hard as they can on the bike to make the package better. So this one’s for the guys.
Jakub Smrz - 3rd
“I’m happy with the result of the day in Assen- As expected, the weather here in Holland has forcing us to manage a variety of strategies to optimise performance. I was still comfortable in all conditions and for this I thank the team for their great support. ”
Sylvain Guintoli - 4th
“A very fast day and the result was a very good job. Assen is one of my favorite circuits, and with my team we have found a great set-up that will allow us to be competitive regardless of the weather. ”
Carlos Checa - 5th
“This weekend has been, let’s say, different to many others, in that we’ve seen almost everything from a weather point of view, and such variable conditions have prevented us from working well, as it’s not been really dry or really wet for any length of time. In these conditions it’s also difficult with only one bike, as we can no longer set up one for the dry and the other for the wet, and so we lose time. I can’t make any guesses for the races, the only thing I can say with certainty is that everything is entirely unpredictable here at Assen!”
Michel Fabrizio - 6th
“I’m quite happy with the second row. The result follows my consistency in free practice and qualifying. It’s a shame we couldn’t get the best from the Superpole tyre. I wasn’t injured in this morning’s crash and now we must focus on tomorrow hoping the weather will be good.”
Leon Haslam - 7th
“I felt quite happy with this morning. We were consistently one of the fastest guys out there. In dry conditions this weekend we have issues with the rear of the bike giving me some chatter. This is something we are working on hard, but as the conditions have been changing a lot it has been difficult to have a full session to properly resolve it. Given that, I am actually quite happy to be starting from the second row, but I am disappointed as well because I know that without the difficulty we could have challenged for the front row.”
John Hopkins - 8th
“We had every type of weather condition out there today, but one thing was consistent and that was that it was cold all day. Every time I get on the Crescent FIXI GSX-R, I get more and more comfortable with the bike and I feel I’m improving all the time and that’s what I want to carry on doing. This morning was pretty bad and we were struggling for grip on the wet track, especially because the track temperature was so low. In the afternoon, when we had some dry track, I began to push harder until the soft tyres started to chatter. It was good to finish the first Superpole with the second-quickest time and we were hopeful of a place on the front row. But our qualifying tyre just didn’t work at all and was chattering so much and the bike was nearly impossible to ride. I would’ve liked to have been on the front row but I normally make good starts so let’s see what happens tomorrow.”
Marco Melandri - 9th
“For sure I am disappointed with the qualifying result. In the dry we have good pace here but the first Superpole was very difficult. It was raining around the track, but not everywhere at the same time. I saw many riders crashing so even if it had been dry in the last few minutes, I was not confident enough to push. I think I made a mistake but it was definitely better than crashing. Now we will see what is possible tomorrow. It is not easy to pass on this track, but I feel okay for the race.”
Leon Camier - 12th
“The conditions were very difficult today, particularly in the morning when it was pretty wet. The track was cold, we struggled for grip; and there was a lot of movement in the tyres. We had some ideas for improvement but we never got a chance to put them into action. In the afternoon untimed practice, I made a little mistake when I hit a wet patch and crashed. I got pretty banged-up and my ankle and left wrist took a bit of a battering. Considering the amount of damage, the boys did an awesome job building a new bike so that I could take part in the first Superpole.
I managed to get out for the last 10 minutes and further credit to the boys because the bike worked OK without any problems. I missed out on getting into the second Superpole by just a fraction so now I’ve got to get off the line quickly tomorrow and get involved right from the start.”
Eugene Laverty - 14th
“Superpole was definitely not the best part of our weekend. After starting with the intermediate tyres, I put the slicks on since the track was drying off. I knew I’d have to push to the limit in order to get into the top eight before weather conditions changed, but I pushed a bit too hard and crashed. Although starting fourteenth isn’t ideal, I know I’ve been working well with the set up on my RSV4 and I hope I can take advantage of that in the two races tomorrow.”
Ayrton Badovini - 16th
“Unfortunately the crash I had in Superpole has slightly compromised the work done so far, but I want to stay positive as we have improved and I still believe I can do well in the races. I’m sorry for the team.”
Max Biaggi - 17th
“After a dismal Friday, practice today unfortunately did not allow us to work the way we had hoped. We were definitely able to improve in spite of the fact that conditions were constantly changing. The thing that will make tomorrow’s races an uphill battle is the starting position. It will be of utmost importance to start strong and not to lose any time in the first phases of the race, trying to stay with the front group in order to mount a comeback. There are a lot of riders here that have a better pace than ours. We’ll try to sort things out as best as possible in the warm-up tomorrow morning.”
Davide Giugliano - 19th
“Let’s say that it didn’t go our way this morning. We hoped to be able to make a few laps in the dry, seeing as we didn’t manage to qualify for the Superpole during yesterday’s session. But the track only got worse during today’s session, and was neither completely wet nor totally dry. I’d say that we’re better prepared for a wet race tomorrow, as we’ve had less time to work in the dry, but I just hope that we have one or the other, wet or dry, rather than mixed conditions like today.”
Hiroshi Aoyama – 21st
We some problems finding rear grip today – in the wet session this morning and also in free practice later, when the track started to get dry. We couldn’t find a way to improve things, so the best I can hope for is dry conditions tomorrow so that I can get some more time on the bike. It’s been a difficult two days and starting from that far back is not a good place to be. But we’ll try some things in warm-up tomorrow that we hope will allow me to fight for some positions in the races.