WSBK Sepang Malaysia 2016
Q1 showed that Tom Sykes was going to be very fast in Q2 but I could not have guessed that he would set a new track record with his impressive 2:02 time. Up until the last 1:32 I was so very surprised to see Nicky Hayden in the top position. Nicky had shown some great speed in practice on Friday, and in the post practice interview talked about how his new chassis was proving to be a substantial improvement, despite the fact that it is the same specification as his old chassis. However Nicky would not be fortunate enough to hold that position as a gaggle of riders really put in good times in the last 60 seconds of Q2. The question that people will be asking over the next hour is of course, do these grid positions have much to do with the race outcome. I’d say that Sykes has been so strong but always loses position late in the race when his tires deteriorate, I see him still in first or second. Rea has pace and like tire management beyond the rest of the field so I see him in second or first. Therefore, with Kawasaki in first and second who will fill the last podium spot? Nicky has looked so good, on track for his first podium of the year, but Chaz Davies is right behind him and Chaz seems more hungry for championship points, so I have Chaz in third. Please do not misunderstand… Alex Lowes is in second on the grid, but the Pata Yamaha is still new and Lowes has not mastered this new bike just yet, so I have him in fourth or fifth as he and Nicky battle for that position. I favor Nicky for the fourth position only because he is very calm and experienced. That experience should pay off for him and give him the edge he needs, to hold that fourth position. Although, Nicky has been seeming to fade late in race, and Malaysia is hot, and energy sapping, so it could really hurt Nicky in the later laps.
As in all races the start will be extremely important and Alex Lowes has been starting very good lately so we will see how well he can do… if he can just stay on the bike.