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Crutchlow leaves it late for Supersport pole.


World Supersport qualifying in South Africa saw points leader Cal Crutchlow record as fifth straight pole position for the Yamaha team, but the Briton was made to fight right to the end for top spot.

Crutchlow, on a run of four poles heading to Kyalami, went straight to the top of the timesheets as qualifying opened but soon found himself overtaken by a resurgent Kenan Sofuoglu, who ducked under the Yamaha's mid 1min 41secs time by a tenth. Despite Crutchlow's best efforts to dislodge his rival, Sofuoglu remained steadfast at the top of the table for the majority of the session, with the Briton tucked in right behind.

Then, true to form, with the remaining seconds ticking down to the end of the session, Crutchlow emerged from a last-gasp pit-stop with fresh rubber at the rear of his Yamaha to lay down the perfect lap.

Having refamiliarised himself with the circuit, the Briton chose the last minute to prove his point, giving Sofuoglu no chance to reply as he broke into the 1min 40secs bracket - the only man to do so - and ending the session nearly half a second ahead of second place. In doing so, Crutchlow also broke Stephane Chambon's 2002 Supersport lap record for the circuit by 4.5secs, although the new mark benefited from the removal of the chicane that would have made its predecessor's lap a little longer.

"Overall, it was a good session for us, but we're still struggling a bit in a few areas," Crutchlow warned, "The lap times for everyone are pretty similar - I managed one really fast one at the end, but it's going to be really close tomorrow. I'm looking forward to the race, but I think Sofuoglu, [Andrew] Pitt and [Eugene] Laverty are going to be the biggest threat, so we'll see!"


Related Pictures

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Davies and Jonathan Rea in parc ferme after qualifying, Assen WSBK 2017

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