Briton Tom Sykes has set the best ever world superbike lap at Phillip Island en route to pole position for the season-opening round at the Victorian circuit.
Sykes’ 31st pole position in WorldSBK came with a sensational lap of 1m30.020 in the 15-minute Superpole shootout, breaking the previous best lap of 1:30.038 set by Frenchman Sylvain Guintoli in 2014.
Italian Davide Giugliano (Ducati, 1:30.098) and world champion Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki, 1:30.170) will join Sykes on the front row of the grid for this weekend’s two 22-lap races, starting with the opener at 3:00pm this afternoon.
Row two will be filled out by Yamaha teammate Guintoli and Lowes and Michael van der Mark (Honda), while former MotoGP world champion Nicky Hayden (Honda) will make his WorldSBK debut by leading away the third row from Italian Lorenzo Savadori (Aprilia) and world No. 2 Chaz Davies (Ducati).
Next up is Leon Camier (MV Agusta), rookie Markus Reiterberger (BMW Motorrad) and Spaniard Jordi Torres (BMW Motorrad), with the top 12 separated by just 1.187 seconds.
Aussie pair Josh Brookes (BMW Motorrad) and Mike Jones (Ducati) will start from 14th (row five) and 21st (row seven) positions respectively in the two WorldSBK races.
World Superbike – Free Practices + Superpole Combined Results
Australian Round, 26-27-28 February 2016 102/01
No. Rider Nat Team Bike FP 1 FP 2 Laps Superpole Gap Time Avg
1. 66 T. SYKES GBR Kawasaki Racing Team Kawasaki ZX-10R 1’30.020
2. 34 D. GIUGLIANO ITA Aruba.it Racing – Ducati Ducati 1199 Panigale 1’30.098
3. 1 J. REA GBR Kawasaki Racing Team Kawasaki ZX-10R 1’30.170
4. 50 S. GUINTOLI FRA Pata Yamaha Official WSBK Team Yamaha YZF R1 1’30.281
5. 22 A. LOWES GBR Pata Yamaha Official WSBK Team Yamaha YZF R1 1’30.354
14. Josh Brookes (Australia ) BMW 1m 31.927
21. Mike Jones (Australia) Ducati 1m33.722