Kawasaki’s Tom Sykes has stormed to his 43rd career pole position in world superbike competition at Phillip Island this afternoon.
The 32-year-old from Huddersfield set a best lap of 1m30.090s around the 4.45km grand prix circuit in the 15-minute Superpole qualifying, slotting himself at the shard end of the grid when the 2018 MOTUL FIM Superbike Championship gets underway with race one at 3:00pm this afternoon.
Sykes now equals the record number of pole positions set by Aussie two-time WorldSBK champion Troy Corser.
Sykes will be joined on the front row of the grid for race one by Eugene Laverty (Aprilia, 1:30.339) and Marco Melandri (Ducati, 1:30.660).
“This pole position means a lot because everybody knows how good Troy (Corser) was. My ZX-10RR has been feeling really sweet throughout all of the testing and doing what it has been told to do. I’m feeling really confident and looking forward to the racing.”
Meanwhile, it was a tough Superpole for reigning world champion and last year’s polesitter Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki, 1:31.056), who ended the session in sixth position. Rea will line up on row two alongside Alex Lowes (Yamaha, 1:30.767) and lap record holder Chaz Davies (Ducati, 1:31.009).
Lowes was one of four riders to crash in the rough and tumble session, but he was able to return to the pits and then get back out on track. Lorenzo Savadori (Aprilia), Jordi Torres (MV Agusta) and Leon Camier (Honda) weren’t so fortunate, and they’ll start from the fourth row in race one.
Row three will be filled by Xavi Fores (Ducati, 1:31.080), Michael van der Mark (Yamaha, 1:31.240) and Turkey’s Toprak Razgatlioglu (Kawasaki, 1:31.581).
Australia’s Wayne Maxwell (Yamaha, 1:32.193) will lead away row six, with Troy Herfoss (Honda, 1:32.640) and Daniel Falzon (Yamaha, 1:33.126) on row seven.
Twenty-two riders will line up in race one.
1. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) 1m30.099
2. Eugene Laverty (Aprilia) 1m30.339
3. Marco Melandri (Ducati) 1m30.660
4. Alex Lowes (Yamaha) 1m30.767
5. Chaz Davies (Ducati) 1m31.009
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