Sykes delivers knockout punch.

Tom Sykes has made history by becoming the first rider to claim pole position using the new knockout qualifying session following a masterful effort at Cadwell Park.

His second pole position of the season, Sykes has been on top form all weekend as he strives to add to his victories at Oulton Park and Knockhill, and his three tenths gap over Cal Crutchlow was testament to that.

The big winner, however, was the new knockout qualifying format. With bikes always on track, the spectators were entertained throughout the hour, particularly in the latter stages of the top ten shootout when the top five positions changed regularly.

It was Sykes that prevailed in the end though, even if he did celebrate his success by promptly falling off his Rizla Suzuki at the Chicane.

Crutchlow posed the greatest challenge to Sykes but while he led the way after two quick laps, his rival for second place in the standings went on to guarantee pole position with his fifth effort of the ten minute session.

Shane Byrne battled hard but was relatively anonymous on the way to third place, while Leon Haslam's relentless run of pole positions at Cadwell Park came to an end with a somewhat lacklustre fourth place.

Leon Camier will start on the second row in fifth, ahead of Michael Rutter and Karl Harris, the trio ensuring that the new qualifying format, although exciting to watch, would deliver similar results to that of its simpler predecessor.

Even so, Atsushi Watanabe was an impressive eighth fastest for only his second top ten start of the season, the Japanese rider edging Simon Andrews and Michael Laverty down to ninth and tenth places.

Elsewhere, expected top ten challengers, Billy McConnell, Tristan Palmer and James Ellison had to make do with 12th, 13th and 16th, although it remains to be see whether Ellison will decide to start the races tomorrow after making his discomfort clear following the first qualifying segment.

Gary Mason, meanwhile, led the way in the Daily Star Cup after a fine run to 11th place. The Quay Garage rider even rose inside the top ten briefly to hint at a surprise presence in the shootout, but he was eventually usurped by Laverty. Even so, with main rivals John Laverty 18th and Martin Jessopp 20th, he has a good shot of a double win this weekend.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
66. Tom Sykes Rizla Suzuki, Suzuki GSX-R1000 K8
Jason O`Halloran, Honda Racing [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Josh Brookes, Anvil Hire Yamaha, [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Shane Byrne, Be Wiser Ducati, [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Luke Mossey, JG Speedfit Kawasaki, [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Peter Hickman, Smiths BMW [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Tommy Bridewell, Team WD-40 Kawasaki [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Bradley Ray, Buildbase Suzuki [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Sylvain Guintoli, Bennetts Suzuki [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
James Ellison, McAMS Yamaha [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Dan Linfoot, Honda Racing [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Alastair Seeley, Tyco BMW [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Lee Jackson, Smiths Racing BMW [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Haslam, Byrne, Mossey, [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Shane Byrne, Be Wiser Ducati, [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Leon Haslam, JG Speedfit Kawasaki [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Leon Haslam, JG Speedfit Kawasaki [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Leon Haslam, JG Speedfit Kawasaki [Credit: Ian Hopgood]

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