Tom Sykes will start Sunday's World Superbike races at Portimao from pole position after beating Eugene Laverty's best effort by just one thousandth of a second.

The Yorkshireman and his factory Kawasaki team overcame mechanical difficulties earlier in the day to set the fastest time in the final combined Superpole session.

The result takes Sykes' career pole count to 16 and he beat his own qualifying lap record from 2012 in colder, windier conditions with a time of 1 minute 41.360.

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Although happy to take the plaudits for what has now become his customary qualifying performance, Sykes remains wary of the challenge posed by fellow front row starters Laverty and Rea.

"I am really happy to have five Superpole wins on the bounce, it is a record for me. I was able to do my time on a dry and sunny track but Eugene Laverty almost beat me to it this time," said Sykes.

"He was not quite close enough, so it doesn't matter if it is one thousandth of a second or one second, it went in my favour.

"I am looking forward to two races tomorrow and I am expecting them to be difficult, but also a good show for the fans. We took a circuit best lap and I was surprised at that because last year I put in a good lap in better conditions.

"I think it shows that Pirelli have made a good step with the tyres. Conditions today were not as good as last year and yet we went faster. I was not expecting this lap time - but I will certainly take it!"

By Neil Morrison