Sykes’ crew chief instructed the rider to go out on a fresh race tyre rather than the used qualifier, and the strategy worked as the Huddersfield man set a new track best lap of 1’45.981 seconds in Superpole three, and his sixth consecutive Superpole win today.
In Superpole the rider was unstoppable even after he was forced to try for the pole time not once but twice in Superpole three, when his team-mate Loris Baz fell at high speed and his machine blocked the track. Sykes had his first class-leading lap time deleted as he crossed the finish line, just after the red flags had come out, and he had to do it all again with no spare qualifying tyre left in his allocation.
After a conference with his team, and advice from his crew to use a fresh race tyre and not a used qualifier from an earlier Superpole session, Sykes fitted a race option and took to the track once more. He then went on to set the fastest ever lap, and is now the only rider who has gone under the 1’46 second mark at this classic Italian venue.
“That Superpole win was down to a good call by my crew chief Marcel who said, after the red flag incident, we should use a fresh race tyre rather than the used qualifier I had wanted to go out on again,” said Sykes.
“So my best lap was done on a race tyre and I wanted to try my best and put in a big push for the great fans here and I got it a bit sideways a few times. To be honest, for me it was not the pole position that meant that much.
“To me it was to get on the front row first of all and also because I was motivated because I had to finally use a race tyre. When I produced that kind of fast lap time I was excited.
“Doing that Superpole session on a race tyre has also given us good information for the races tomorrow. I am looking to put in strong results after my stupid mistake in Portimao and two strong finishes would put that memory to bed.”
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