The new WSBK format definitely makes it hard on a writer, Q2 just wrapped up and there is just an hour to get your article out before the race begins. Sykes on pole, Guintoli second and Giugliano in third, followed by Rea, Van Der Mark, Davies, Reiterberger, Fores, Torres, Hayden, Salvadori and Lowes. While Sykes is on pole the real question is can he finish in first? Normally I would say no, Sykes has a terrible history of hammering the tires so that late in the race he usually fades. However, In today’s qualification he has dominated the field, so if he can maintain that pace for the first half then he should have a significant lead. Sylvain is good on the flying lap, but he has had some really terrible starts and I think there is a good chance he will get swallowed up before the end of the first lap. Guigliano too has some rough and tumble starts but usually finishes strong so as I predicted yesterday I still think Guigliano has a good chance to finish on the podium. Rea has demonstrated all the qualities that still make him a favorite for victory in Race 1. Much like Rossi who started many times in the third row and still place, it is his ability to maintain a smooth and fast pace and pamper the tires that make him a favorite every race. van der Mark is hungry, aggressive and fearless; that makes him both capable of winning just as much as it makes him a crasher. van der Mark will be pushing hard for the home crowd and I cannot count him out, he will be pushing Giugliano for the third podium spot. Davies is the number one contender this season, even more so than Sykes. Davies is just melding with the Ducati and has shown that he is going to be in the top five every time he can. If it is humanly possible Davies will be there. Rieterberger will lose out to Hayden, both are capable of podium finishes but for the moment the start will depend on their overall performance.
With ten minutes left to the race I have to post now… good luck riders.