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Tom Sykes has taken a fifth eni World Superbike Championship pole position of the season at Misano in a Superpole session that saw three of his key title rivals fail to crack the top eight.
Having hinted at his pace by topping Q2 earlier in the day, the Kawasaki rider was in typically scintillating form over a single lap to dismiss the competition with an outstanding time of 1min 35.375secs set in the first five minutes of SP2.
Marking his fifth Superpole in seven attempts this season, as well as matching his pole position start from Misano in the damp a year ago, Sykes is well placed to capitalise in the title fight after Max Biaggi, Marco Melandri and Carlos Checa
could only manage 10th, 13th and 16th respectively.
Even so, he still faces close competition from Jonathan Rea, who will start alongside Sykes in second position. Though the Honda rider would have likely been closer than the eventual seven tenths deficit had he not made a mistake on his first flying lap, he didn't have an answer to Sykes.
Joining them on the front row will be 2010 and 2011 Superstock 1000 champions Ayrton Badovini and Davide Giugliano, the former securing an unexpected first-ever front row start around the circuit that bore his best-ever WSBK result in 2011 with a run to fourth, while the latter brings some joy to the Althea Ducati camp following Checa's troubles.
Jakub Smrz heads up the second row, ahead of Leon Haslam and Eugene Laverty, the pair diverting some attention away from their respective BMW and Aprilia team-mates by comfortably out-qualifying them in sixth and seventh. Sylvain Guintoli rounds off row two, though the Frenchman ruined his chances of a better finish with a conclusive tumble with ten minutes remaining.
Prior to SP2, Superpole began having been declared wet after a thunderstorm deluged the circuit in rain. However, though the circuit was almost dry by the time the riders ventured out, it would only reach optimum performance in the very final stages of the 20-minute phase.
As such, SP1 became as much about picking the right moment as setting a fast time, with several high-profile riders falling victim to the flurry of laps in the closing seconds.