to view WSBK Superpole qualifying results
A magnificent final sector effort has seen Loris Baz snatch a sensational second career World Superbike Championship pole position in Jerez, ahead of Davide Giugliano and WSBK leader Tom Sykes.
In a fast and frantic qualifying session in Spain, each of the top three would dip under the existing lap record, but it was Baz that would prevail after a remarkable lap distinguished by an astonishing final sector that not only clawed back two tenths on provisional pole sitter Giugliano, but moved him another two tenths clear.
His second career WSBK pole position, following a similar record-breaking effort in Assen earlier this season, Baz's performance comes at a critical time in the wake of rumours linking him to potential MotoGP deal for 2015, with Jonathan Rea assuming his Kawasaki seat.
In the meantime, Baz will lead off Giugliano and team-mate Sykes, the former showing his hand first with an impressive 1min 40.533secs lap, even if the typically erratic Italian promptly followed it up by running off track at the first corner.
However, even though Giugliano was faster in two of the four splits, Baz would simply grab the initiative through the final bends, his relatively unorthodox and aggressive line into the last corner seemingly playing dividends.
Similarly, Sykes looked on course to deny his team-mate some glory as he posted session-best split times coming up to the finish line, only to fall more than two tenths short in the end.
Despite this, he still starts ahead of main WSBK title rival Sylvain Guintoli, the Frenchman starting fifth alongside Aprilia team-mate, the Italian unable to carry his impressive practice form into anything more than the head of the second row.
Eugene Laverty gave Suzuki a boost with a strong run to sixth on the grid, ahead of Chaz Davies and Leon Haslam, the PATA Honda rider out-qualifying team-mate Jonathan Rea after the Ulsterman could only manage tenth on the grid.
Alex Lowes starts between them in ninth after suffering a costly fall in the closing stages, while Toni Elias and leading EVO rider Sylvain Barrier – who also fell – complete the fourth row.