Tom Sykes continues to build his case to Kawasaki about retaining him for the 2011 World Superbike season as he soared to a superb maiden pole position at Imola.

Twelve months on from when his burgeoning World Superbike career was in doubt following a disappointing debut with Yamaha, Sykes will start from a very unlikely pole position in what will be one of the final outings for the current generation ZX-10R.

Making the most of the difficult weather conditions that made things treacherous for each of the Superpole participants, Sykes cruised into only this third SP3 session of the season before showing off his wet prowess by setting a 2mins 07.341secs.

Remarkably, no other rider could surpass that, Sykes giving Kawasaki the chance to celebrate its first WSBK pole position since Fonsi Nieto at the Lausitzring in 2007.

While Sykes is not underestimating the job in hand come race day, he points out he has been a solid top ten contender in the dry at Imola too. With this in mind, he is keen to at least build on his top five finish at the Nurburgring.

"I'm obviously really happy to have achieved my first ever pole position in World Superbikes today at Imola. We've been making gradual improvements over the past few races and it is full credit to my Team for giving me a package which I had all confidence in, to ride in the tricky conditions.

"We have been pretty consistent since Friday, no matter what the weather, and have managed to find the balance between our set-up from Nurburgring and the successful test we had here a few months back.

"I have only had to make a few changes here and there but this allows me to put my head down and get stuck in. To start tomorrow's races in P1 is fantastic and I aim to better the results I had in the Nurburgring and continue our good fortunes."

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