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Super Sykes blitzes rivals to claim pole

31 March 2012

Kawasaki's Tom Sykes is in confident mood as he prepares to turn his stunning performance in qualifying at Imola into a victory at the iconic Italian circuit tomorrow.

Sykes became the only rider to break into the 1m 46s bracket in Superpole 3 with an awesome lap of 1m 46. 748s to relegate Sylvain Guintoli to second on the Effenbert Liberty Ducati, with Althea Ducati's Carlos Checa – the Imola lap record holder – third fastest.

Leon Haslam completes the front row on the works BMW S1000RR, but the day belonged to Sykes, who unofficially dipped under reigning champion Checa's lap record at Imola with that his searing effort on the ZX-10R.

A beaming Sykes said afterwards: “The soft qualifying tyres brought us some problems so we made a small change for Superpole 3 and with a big amount of effort from myself we were able to put in a good lap.

“I'm very happy to be starting from pole position tomorrow. It's my second pole start in a row after Australia and it shows how much work Kawasaki has done on the ZX-10R this year.

“We have a good race pace and are feeling fairly confident,” added Sykes. “Hopefully we can get a good result or two tomorrow.”

Checa, who has won three of the past four races at Imola, said he struggled to put in a fast time on qualifying rubber but is nonetheless satisfied with a place on the front row.

“Getting onto the front is quite important and we have a good position for tomorrow,” he said. “We are feeling quite well for tomorrow.”

Championship leader Max Biaggi, who finished first and second at Phillip Island, was fifth on his Aprilia RSV4 followed by Haslam's team-mate Marco Melandri and Jonathan Rea on the factory Honda CBR1000RR.

Rea suffered a horrendous high-side in the final Superpole session but walked away from the incident.

Eugene Laverty will start from the third row of the grid in 11th position on his Aprilia RSV4 after a disappointing qualifying in Superpole.

The Northern Irishman has overcome his hand injury and will be hoping to carve his way through the field tomorrow in an effort to secure a solid points haul to enable him to keep tabs on the championship leaders.

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