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Tom Sykes has consolidated his place at the top of the World Superbike timesheets at Silverstone by going quickest in second qualifying.

Having held the overnight top spot by a small margin over Carlos Checa, Sykes didn't waste time extending his advantage by lapping in 2mins 05.350secs, eight tenths quicker than he managed during Q1.

With rain returning in the final ten minutes of the session to ensure no other rider could get close to him, Sykes would conclude four tenths quicker than his closest rival.

Leading the opposition was John Hopkins, last year's pole sitter producing a fine lap to go an impressive second quickest, while Leon Camier added to Suzuki's joy by claiming the fourth best time less than a tenth adrift of title challenger Marco Melandri.

Checa failed to improve on his Q1 time, but was fast enough to retain fifth position, ahead of Sylvain Guintoli, Loris Baz, Maxime Berger, Eugene Laverty and Jakub Smrz.

As well as the battle up front, many eyes were trained on series leader Max Biaggi and Jonathan Rea to see whether they could crack Superpole having been classified outside the top 16 overnight.

In the end, both riders scraped through, Rea in 14th and Biaggi securing the last available spot in 16th. Indeed, Biaggi might consider himself fortunate as he was only seven hundredths of a second up on 17th place man Niccolo Canepa, while the Red Devils Roma Ducati even looked set to move ahead of him as he produced PB sectors on his final lap, only to see his efforts nixed in the final sector by the arriving rain.

As such, Canepa will not progress to Superpole, the Italian being joined on the sidelines by countrymen Ayrton Badovini and Lorenzo Zanetti, plus Hiroshi Aoyama, David Salom, David Johnson, Norino Brignola and Brett McCormick.