Highlights from Saturday’s Tissot-Superpole qualifying sessions of the WSBK Malaysia 2015 race weekend in Sepang,Malaysia.
The World Superbike Championship, or better known as WSBK, marks its second appearance in Malaysia this year. Held in the very picturesque Sepang International Circuit (SIC), the course has since become a top favourite amongst many of the sport’s riders since last year.
Adding some spice, WSBK Malaysia 2015 features the return of legendary racer Max Biaggi as a wildcard. Known as ‘The Roman Emperror’ or ‘il Corsaro’, Biaggi marks his second WSBK wildcard appearance since his retirement; Max had entered as a wildcard just about a month ago during WSBK’s outing in Misano, Italy.
Riding a specially-liveried Aprilia WSBK race bike, Biaggi’s presence was a measure undertaken by SIC management to boost more spectatorship for the sport, both locally and internationally. And, with the respectable results he achieved today, the 44-year-old legend is still the tour-de-force he has always been.
If you don’t already know by now, WSBK’s ‘Tissot-Superpole’ qualifying format is rather unique. Firstly, riders’ times are recorded from Free Practice 1, 2, and 3 and averaged. Riders classified in the top 10 are seeded straight into Superpole 2 whilst those classified outside the top 10 are seeded into Superpole 1.
At the end of Superpole 1, the session’s two fastest riders are promoted into Superpole 2 where they will compete against the top 10. Basically, superpole 2 determines grid positions 1 to 12 whilst Superpole 1 determines the rest.
Today, glory belongs to former world champion Tom Sykes. Astride the green-liveried Kawasaki Racing Team’s ZX-10R, Sykes was able to snatch pole position away in the last minute of the session, clocking in a blistering flying lap of 2:03.240. Sykes was able to edge over Aprilia Racing Team rider Jordi Torres who managed to lap the 5.5km-long course with his best time of 2:03.510 in Superpole 2. Wrapping up the top three was defending world champion Sylvain Guintoli after he managed to ride his PATA Honda CBR1000RR SP with his best time of 2:03.836.
With three different bikes lining up the front row, plus one very capable wildcard in the second row, the start of both Race 1 and Race 2 slated for tomorrow will be interesting indeed.
Stay tuned for more updates from us as we cover the WSBK Malaysia 2015 race weekend extensively on the gorund here in the Sepang International Circuit.