Tom Sykes has taken his second-career World Superbike pole position for Kawasaki after unleashing an exceptional pace in the wet at Misano.
The Briton, who scored a shock pole position for Kawasaki at a damp Imola in 2010, was given the chance to display his wet weather prowess once more when a downpour between FP2 and Superpole threw a curve ball into proceedings.
Indeed, while several of his rivals suffered problems in the slippery conditions, Sykes adapted swiftly as he established himself as a front runner in all three qualifying phases.
Carlos Checa had gone into Superpole as a firm favourite having topped each of the timed sessions prior to that, but the Spaniard did not appreciate the conditions quite so much as he was very nearly bumped out at the SP2 stage.
Though the championship leader collected himself to make SP3 with the fastest time at the chequered flag, he could do nothing about Sykes when it mattered, the former BSB race winner pumping in a series of impressive laps that confirmed his status as a deserving pole winner. The result marks his second pole position for Kawasaki and the first for the new ZX-10R.
Checa was still in touch as he sneaked into second position, two tenths off Sykes, while Jakub Smrz claimed another front row start after an eventful session. Indeed, the Czech rider looked the most likely challenger for Sykes, despite being one of five riders (Checa being another) to suffer a fall during SP1. However, he would fall six tenths shy of Sykes in third.
Fresh from his maiden front row start at Miller Motorsports Park, Marco Melandri edged onto the head of the grid again in fourth place, the Yamaha rider nipping ahead of Leon Haslam after the BMW rider suffered a fall in the closing stages.
Even so, it was a good session for the BMW duo, with a battered and bruised Troy Corser shadowing his team-mate in sixth position, ahead of reigning champion Max Biaggi, who was lucky to even progress into SP3 after apparently struggling with an ankle injury sustained in an accident during FP2. Sylvain Guintoli completes the second row.
Elsewhere, Ayrton Badovini just missed out on an SP3 cut in ninth place, though he did out-qualify Eugene Laverty – who was another to fall in SP1 - and Jonathan Rea in tenth and eleventh respectively.
Behind them, Michel Fabrizio, who has been a consistent front runner through practice, could only manage 13th on the grid as he struggled with the wet conditions, while Leon Camier's qualifying woes continues as he fell twice during SP1 without even setting a lap time. Ruben Xaus was another not to set a time after falling, though he actually starts ahead of Camier in 15th.