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Tom Sykes heads into Superpole as the hot favourite to notch up his 15th career World Superbike pole position after holding firm at the top of the timesheets at Donington Park.
Having paced provisional qualifying in cool, damp conditions on the Friday, though Sykes's marker was quickly bettered when the riders ventured onto circuit under sunny skies for Q2, he would strike to the front again with just over ten minutes remaining.
Scoring the only lap time to break the 1min 29secs barrier, Sykes was two tenths faster than series leader Sylvain Guintoli, who had led the leaderboard for much of the session before being overhauled his title rival.
Eager to impress on home soil, Leon Camier was a strong third fastest on the Fixi Crescent Suzuki, with Marco Melandri and Loris Baz – who made is WSBK debut at Donington Park last season – rounding out the top five.
With just half a second covering second down to ninth, Chaz Davies, Davide Giugliano, Jonathan Rea and Eugene Laverty would bridge the gap, while Michel Fabrizio
completed the top ten on his Aprilia.
Further back, competition for the 15 available Superpole spots would prove keenly contested, with several riders all experiencing a period in the drop zone.
In the end, Carlos Checa, Jules Cluzel, Niccolo Canepa, Ayrton Badovini and – significantly – Leon Haslam would just avoid being eliminated and will go through to contest Superpole later this afternoon.
Missing out is Max Neukirchner, Federico Sandi, Vittorio Iannuzzo and Alexander Lundh, the quartet starting 16th, 17th, 18th and 19th.