Sykes claims 21st career pole with late Misano blitz

Tom Sykes produced a scintillating late effort to snatch pole position from home hero Davide Giugliano in a closely fought World Superbike Superpole session at the Circuito de Marco Simoncelli in Misano.

The reigning world champion left it late to post a lap of 1min 34.883secs which broke Troy Corser’s outright lap record set in 2010 by 0.118secs to claim his second pole position of the season.

Sykes left it late to take another measured pole position
Photo: worldsbk.com
It seemed the home fans would see a home rider start from the front of the first row with just over a minute to play as Giugliano’s best, set early in the session, looked to have been enough. In the end Sykes bettered his time by 0.196s.

Sylvain Guintoli, resplendent in a nostalgic red, white and green colour scheme to celebrate Aprilia’s first world championship triumph at the same circuit in 1987, completed the front row in third, just 0.02s behind Giugliano.

Keen to put the Malaysian catastrophe behind him, Loris Baz heads the second row in fourth (+0.371s) with the Aprilias of Marco Melandri (+0.433s) and Toni Elias (+0.521s) just behind in fifth and sixth. The latter used his former team-mate’s stream to post his fastest time having qualified for the SP2 session via setting the quickest time in SP1.

The third row is an all British and Irish affair with Chaz Davies pushed down to seventh having sat as high as third with eight minutes to go. The Welshman couldn’t improve on his initial personal best, causing him to slip four places. Jonathan Rea recovered from a crash in FP4 to qualify eighth ahead of countryman Eugene Laverty in ninth.

Leon Haslam nearly suffered a similar fate to his team-mate at the same corner on his first flying lap of the session. He then fell at the tight Carro corner as the minutes ticked away, leaving him a frustrating twelfth behind highest placed ‘Evo’ machine Nico Canepa and Alex Lowes.

With 30 riders taking part in the Superbike class this weekend – the biggest since 2009 – ten riders didn’t make it into either of the two Superpole sessions, with Christian Iddon starting from 21st.

The full results from World Superbike Superpole session can be seen here.
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