for WSBK Qualifying results from Chang International Circuit
Jonathan Rea will start the first World Superbike Championship races to be held in Thailand from pole position after a magnificent last gasp effort saw him unseat Leon Haslam in a thrilling qualifying session.
The Kawasaki rider, who started from pole position at the Phillip Island opener, prevailed with his final lap of the Chang International Circuit in a thrilling session that would see the lap times tumble all the way to the chequered flag.
Leading the way during the first wave of laps, Rea was toppled first by team-mate Tom Sykes and then by Leon Haslam, the Aprilia rider going quicker still on his second revolution to stop the clock at a seemingly insurmountable 1min 33.393secs lap.
Indeed, it seemed Haslam was well on course to record only his second career World Superbike pole position – five years after the last -, particularly when his last remaining rival, Rea, had already fallen short in three of the four sectors. However, the Ulsterman would pull it all back in the final split to beat his Phillip Island sparring partner by a mere one hundredth of a second.
A strong session for the British contingent, Alex Lowes carried through his practice pace to secure his maiden World Superbike front row in third for Suzuki, while Sykes had to make do with fourth, half a second off his pole-winning team-mate.
Jordi Torres and Chaz Davies will join the former champion on the second row, while Troy Bayliss rolled back the years by proving competitive enough to get as high as third at one stage.
Though he would slip back to seventh at the chequered flag, the returning former champion proved he has still has what it takes to be quick over a single lap at least, just three tenths off his Ducati team-mate Davies and out-qualifying the PATA Hondas of Michael van der Mark in eighth and defending champion Sylvain Guintoli in ninth.
Having come though SP1, Leandro Mercado starts from the top ten for the first time in his career on the Barni Ducati, ahead of David Salom and Matteo Baiocco.
Failing to progress through to SP2, Sylvain Barrier had an untidy final corner to blame for him being consigned to 13th on the best of the BMWs, while Nico Terol, Leon Camier and Randy de Puniet were some of the higher profile names to be comprehensively out-performed in the one lap dash.