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Tom Sykes will start from his fourth World Superbike pole position of the season after a scintillating lap that not only took eight tenths off the lap record, but would have placed him inside the top ten on the MotoGP grid last season.

Having hinted at his form around the undulating Californian circuit in FP4 by setting the fastest lap of the weekend, Sykes still took his time getting up to speed in Superpole, completing a solid first stint in fourth before re-emerging with qualifying rubber.

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From here Sykes would be untouchable, improving the benchmark through each sector to cross the line having completed a 1min 21.811secs.

Eight tenths below the existing lap record, not only was the lap good enough to put half a second between himself and his closest rival Sylvain Guintoli, but it was a lap that would have placed him eighth on the grid for last year's MotoGP race around Laguna Seca.

Erstwhile lap record holder Guintoli was visibly pushing for another pole position but would be forced to play a very distant second fiddle to title rival Sykes, while Chaz Davies starts on the front row for the second race in succession, just four hundredths off second.

Davide Giugliano heads up row two for Ducati's most convincing qualifying performance of the season, ahead of Marco Melandri and Eugene Laverty, the Irishman finally completing his objective of getting on the front two rows for Sunday's races.

Heading up the PATA Honda challenge, Leon Haslam was a solid seventh best, ahead of Loris Baz, who recovered to eighth despite suffering a light tumble in SP1 en route to SP2. Satellite Aprilia rider Toni Elias completes the third row.

Fourth quickest in FP4, Jonathan Rea had a fall at the final corner to blame for him failing to qualify high than tenth place, the Ulsterman sharing the fourth row with Alex Lowes and Niccolo Canepa, who made it through to SP2 to top the EVO reckoning.

Just outside the top 12, Sylvain Barrier, Christiann Iddon - who crashed - and David Salom make up the fifth row.