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Bayliss takes Brands pole.

World Superbike fans got a taste of what to expect when the qualifying format is changed for 2009 after a thrilling session saw Troy Bayliss claim pole position at Brands Hatch.

With the prospect of wet weather prompting officials to revert to the 50-minute free session, it was almost a sneak preview to the new knockout system the series will adopt from 2009 onwards (see separate story).

Indeed, it very nearly looked as though Gregorio Lavilla could be on pole position for the two races after the heavens opened just as the riders crossed the timing beam to start their first flying lap. However, while most chose to abort their laps as the circuit quickly became slippery, Lavilla continued on to cross the line with the initial best lap, ahead of Ruben Xaus, Max Biaggi and Michel Fabrizio, the other riders to take their chance on the weather getting worse.

The conditions did improve though, even if it wasn't until the 30th minute that Smrz became the first rider to attempt the circuit on slick tyres again. Although damp patches around the covered part of the track ensured conditions weren't ideal, Smrz was still setting a fine pace.

As Smrz quickly began lowering his times with every revolution, more riders piled onto the circuit to make the most of the ever improving conditions.

Still, despite being the 'trial rider' Smrz remained the rider to beat for almost 25 minutes, the Czech rider returning to the top spot almost every time he completed a lap. Hitting the front with only five minutes remaining, it briefly looked as though he could be on for a very surprise pole position.

However, having completed his allocated 12 laps earlier than his rivals, Smrz was soon deposed by Bayliss with three minutes remaining. Nonetheless, that lap wouldn't be the winner after Noriyuki Haga laid down the gauntlet with only 45 seconds remaining when he surged to the top of the timesheets.

His joy was shortlived though as Bayliss, just 25 seconds later, popped back ahead of him. Even then he wasn't completely home and dry as Kiyonari was posting best sector times just behind. However, despite heading into the third sector – which includes just two corners – with the advantage, Kiyonari somehow managed to lose three tenths, leaving him third.

It meant Bayliss was able to celebrate a fifth pole position of the season around one of his favourite circuits. It just remains to be seen whether he and Haga can replicate one of their famous battles come race day…



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Bayliss, British WSBK 2008
Sykes,  Tissot pole award winner Qatar WSBK 2016
Sofuoglu, Tissot pole award winner, Qatar WSBK 2016
Sykes,  Tissot pole award winner Qatar WSBK 2016
Sykes takes pole, Jerez WSBK 2016
Davies takes pole, German WSBK 2016
Sykes claims pole, Misano WSBK 2016
Sykes takes pole, British WSBK 2016
Sykes, pole position, Dutch WSBK 2016
Sykes, Pole position, Dutch WSBK 2016
Guintoli, Sykes and Alex Lowes on Super Pole, Aragon WSBK 2016
Guintoli, Sykes and Alex Lowes on Super Pole, Aragon WSBK 2016
Sykes takes pole, Qatar WSBK 2015
Sykes takes pole, Jerez WSBK 2015
Sykes takes pole, Jerez WSBK 2015
Giugliano, Pole setter in parc ferme, Portuguese WSBK 2015
Giugliano, Pole setter in parc ferme, Portuguese WSBK 2015
Sykes on pole in parc ferme, Assen WSBK 2015

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Sick Cylinder - Unregistered

August 02, 2008 7:19 PM

1. Troy Bayliss 1min 25.656 secs 2. Noriyuki Haga 1min 25.679 secs 3. Ryuichi Kiyonari 1min 25.840 secs 4. Jakub Smrz 1min 25.960 secs 5. Troy Corser 1min 26.021 secs 6. Tom Sykes 1min 26.166 secs 7. Max Biaggi 1min 26.169 secs 8. Max Neukirchner 1min 26.226 secs 9. Yukio Kagayama 1min 26.501 secs 10. Fonsi Nieto 1min 26.688 secs



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