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Althea Aprilia's Davide Giugliano will start on a World Superbike Championship pole position for the first time in his career after taking full advantage of a crash for pre-qualifying favourite Tom Sykes at the Moscow Raceway.
Sykes had been seeking a seventh straight pole position in Russia, which would have put him level with current consecutive pole record-holder Ben Spies, but having dominated proceedings in SP1 and SP2, his first flying lap in SP3 would instead see him come down at turn three.
A surprise blow for a man that has largely dominated WSBK qualifying over the past two seasons, Sykes failure to set a time means he will be forced to start both races in ninth place – his lowest starting position since 2011.
Despite the slip, Sykes can at least take heart from the knowledge that his key title rival Sylvain Guintoli starts just one position ahead of him, the Frenchman – who is suffering with a shoulder injury - squeezing into SP3 but unable to go quicker than eighth.
With Sykes out of contention, it was left to Giugliano to capitalise, the young Italian consolidating his strong form around the Russian circuit this weekend to put the Althea Aprilia to the top of the timesheets on his second attempt having run onto the gravel initially.
Lapping in 1min 34.656secs – slower than Sykes had managed in SP2 -, Giugliano was a comfortable two tenths quicker than Chaz Davies, who makes a welcome return to the front row aboard the BMW GoldBet S1000RR.
His first front row start since Aragon, when he went on to claim a double victory, Davies will share his prime spot on the grid with Eugene Laverty, whose final effort squeezed him into third position.
Having almost been caught out in SP1, Pata Honda's Jonathan Rea recovered to qualify in fourth place, ahead of the second BMW of Marco Melandri.