Stobart Vent Axia Motorsport rider Tom Sykes posted third fastest in qualifying for round seven of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship as the weather interrupted proceedings at Knockhill in Scotland today.
The 21 year old Yorkshireman took advantage in the early minutes of the one and only qualifying session to seal his best qualifying position of the season as shortly after he set his fastest lap the heavens opened and the rain came down.
The front row will be Sykes' second of the season following his fourth place qualifying position at Oulton Park in round four. But for team mate Shane 'Shakey' Byrne it was not so happy and as a result the 30 year old Londoner will start tomorrow's two races from the second row of the grid.
Byrne got held up in the early stages of the session before the rain came but nonetheless a row two start in eighth place is not a disaster for the VK sponsored rider.
"I could see the clouds coming over so we set a plan of action and decided to put a qualifier in from the go and I just got out as soon as the flag went out. I found a bit of clear track and it was great. It's fantastic to be on the front row for the second time this year and all we need is a good start as we've got a good set up for tomorrow. The bike was fine in the wet too so I'm just looking forward to getting another couple of good results under my belt and score some more points."
"I got to the front as soon as I could at the start of practice and tried to get a clear lap because I knew it was important to go fast at the start but I came upon some backmarkers and couldn't get past. I pulled in to try a qualifier but by then it was already raining so it was too late for me. I'm not happy but I hope to make amends tomorrow."
"It's great that Tom's on the front row again, but a bit disappointing for Shakey. It's a shame the rain didn't hold off a bit longer because we could have been up there with both riders but hopefully we can get some solid results tomorrow"
"It was my mistake; I was too cautious on my first lap, I then got stuck behind a rider going into the last corner on what would have been my fastest lap. I did not qualify as well as I had hoped. Results will all depend on the weather, I am quite happy with the bike but I will have to work hard in the race, we shall see what happens!"
"I am pleased with today, I probably could have got pole position but I got caught in a bit of traffic, 2nd place is good enough for me! I knew I had to get a quick lap in early and I am relieved that I was able to do that. I also did a few laps in the wet. I am confident for the dry but if it's wet we still have a few things to do but we should be fine. On the whole I am pretty happy with it all!"
"I started the session on a race tyre and it is just as well I got up to speed quickly because I had only completed a handful of laps when the drizzle started and put an end to fast times.
"I'm enjoying myself this weekend and my crew is making positive changes to my Rizla Suzuki. Everything has been going in the right direction and in the dry we can be competitive. I think I have a good rain set-up after plenty of wet track time at the last round at Mondello Park."
"I had been running in the top seven until qualifying and then was caught out by the rain coming on early in the session. If it's dry then I want to be up challenging in the top seven and think that is realistic.
"If it is wet, which is more than likely, then I am confident in my Rizla Suzuki and think I can challenge well up the field. Knockhill is a favourite circuit of mine and in the rain it'll be the smoothest riders that benefit and that will suit me."
The first of the Bennetts British Superbike races gets underway at 13.00 with the second one screened live on ITV1 at 15.40.
- 1, Jonathan Rea (Honda) 48.345s
- 2, Leon Haslam (Ducati) 48.665s
- 3, Tom Sykes (Honda) 48.839s
- 4, Leon Camier (Honda) 49.141s
- 5, Ryuichi Kiyonari (Honda) 49.240s
- 6, Chris Walker (Suzuki) 49.240s
- 7, Karl Harris (Honda) 49.528s
- 8, Shane Byrne (Honda) 49.539s
- 9, Gregorio Lavilla (Ducati) 49.628s
- 10, Tommy Hill (Yamaha) 49.720s