Front Row Start For Sykes At Miller Motorsports Park World Superbike

WSBK, Miller Motorsport Park, USA, 27 May 2012

Tom Sykes and his Kawasaki Racing Team crew overcame some early set-up issues at Miller Motorsports Park to take a front row start in third place after Superpole. Young rider Loris Baz qualified 17th.

world superbike, world superbike racing, superbike racing, miller world superbike, 2012 miller world superbike, 2012 world superbike, kawasaki, tom sykesSykes had taken four pole positions in 2012 prior to Miller World Superbike but did not look set to secure a fifth after he found difficulties in some sectors at what is a unique circuit on the calendar, where some blind turns are initiated with a partially open throttle.

With one main practice session undertaken in wet conditions and a track surface which appears to be bumpier and less consistent than last year, Sykes and his team made a late change to his Ninja ZX-10R’s chassis set-up and he found an immediate improvement in pace, which they carried all the way through the three Superpole sessions, heading up all but two of his 23 rivals at this particular event.

Tom hopes to be able to translate that qualifying improvement into a race set-up for Monday’s two 21-lap World Superbike events and add to his current podium tally of six, which includes a race win at Monza.

Loris Baz found his first experience of riding on the 4.907km circuit near Salt Lake City an enjoyable and exciting one and he came close to qualifying inside the top 16 and progressing in Superpole. He starts 17th on the grid and will look for improvements at certain points of the circuit before facing his two SBK races on Monday.

David Salom and Leandro Mercado, from the Team Perdercini Kawasaki squad, qualified 19th and 22nd respectively.

Tom Sykes: “I’m pleasantly surprised to be on the front row because we have been struggling for a time here at Miller. Once again the guys have done a great job because we changed something for Superpole, to try and make something happen, and fair play to the Kawasaki Racing Team technical staff because even on the first lap on a race tyre I knew we had a lot better package. About 15 or 20 minutes before Superpole we made quite a step with spring balance and that has put us very close to where we wanted to be. The lads have never stopped working. I have been a little bit difficult to deal with because I want to stay at the front, so I was getting frustrated. That makes it nice for me to see how well they all worked to make improvements. I feel a lot more confident going into tomorrow’s races now. We have kept up our good record from qualifying this year. Starting races from the front row is quite crucial so I am very happy to be here and hope to have two good races.”

Loris Baz: “When I walked the track for the first time it looked really good for me because there was not so many stop and go areas. We can see on the data that there are only two corners that are like that and those where the places I lost most time. For the moment my style is not OK for these corners, but I am fast in the first part of the track. The layout is difficult but it is really nice. I missed Superpole for next to nothing, about 0.14 seconds, so we are closer and closer to the top. We lost one practice session to the rain so I have had only three sessions in the dry and I was only 0.8 from Tom in qualifying, which is much better than Donington. We still have a problem in turn eight where it is really bumpy but if we can sort that we should be cool for the race.”

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