Tom Sykes says the decision by his crew chief to fit a race tyre en route to claiming his sixth World Superbike pole position of the season was the defining factor in him claiming a remarkable record-breaking lap at Imola.

The Kawasaki Racing rider looked to be favourite for another pole position after breaking his own lap record during the SP2 knockout phase, but an unfortunately timed red flag just as he was completing his intended single lap during the grid-deciding SP3 session left him without a time or a fresh qualifying tyre.

Nonetheless, though Sykes was originally convinced he could still get onto the front row with the used rubber, he was instead persuaded to fit a new race tyre by his crew chief. It would prove a shrewd move, Sykes promptly turning in a stunning 1min 45.981secs lap - the first time a Superbike has ever broken the 1min 46secs marker.

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His 17th career pole position, one that moves him level with fourth place Doug Polen on the all-time list, Sykes was thrilled to notch up another record.

"That Superpole win was down to a good call by my crew chief Marcel who said, after the red flag incident, we should use a fresh race tyre rather than the used qualifier I had wanted to go out on again. So my best lap was done on a race tyre and I wanted to try my best and put in a big push for the great fans here and I got it a bit sideways a few times.

"To be honest, for me it was not the pole position that meant that much. To me it was to get on the front row first of all and also because I was motivated because I had to finally use a race tyre. When I produced that kind of fast lap time I was excited.

"Doing that Superpole session on a race tyre has also given us good information for the races tomorrow. I am looking to put in strong results after my stupid mistake in Portimao and two strong finishes would put that memory to bed."