Australia: Sykes under lap record for pole down under

Tom Sykes laps marginally under the two-year old outright Superbike record to claim the first pole position of 2016, Davide Giugliano second.
CLICK HERE for WSBK Superpole results from Phillip Island.

Tom Sykes once again demonstrated his ability to manhandle his Kawasaki ZX-10R over a single flying lap by breaking the outright World Superbike lap record to claim his first pole position of 2016.

Eager to start his challenge for a second world crown with two strong results after a more-than-promising off-season, Sykes' fastest time was just 0.018s under Sylvain Guintoli's two-year old record, as he headed Davide Giugliano and Jonathan Rea.

Such was the Englishman's pace, Sykes was adamant he could have gone faster. Exiting pit lane for his final run, the number 66 found several riders tailing him around the 2.7-mile track and thus had to push harder on his out-lap that he had hoped.

According to Sykes, a 1m 29s lap was possible had his rear tyre not gone off at the close of his final lap. In the end, his time was enough to snatch pole away from Davide Giugliano by 0.078s.

Returning to the track that all-but ended any chance of a competitive 2015 season, the Italian was more than content with his speed on both qualifying and race rubber.

Reigning world champion Jonathan Rea completed the front row thanks to a lap time that was just 0.15s slower than his team-mate. The only rider to have posted a full race simulation in free practice, the Northern Irishman felt he was too cautious on the qualifying rubber which he had not tested in 2016 until now.

There were strong debut showings from Friday pace setter Sylvain Guintoli in fourth and Alex Lowes, fastest in the earlier SP1 session, fifth. Former British Superbike champion Lowes acknowledged he needed to work on his riding style on Friday and certainly appeared smoother through Phillip Island's numerous fast changes of direction a day later.

Michael van der Mark was a place ahead of new team-mate Nicky Hayden in sixth with reigning FIM Superstock 1000 champion Lorenzo Savadori displaying notable improvements with the eighth fastest time.

Arguably the most disappointed man of the twelve riders, Chaz Davies will start both races from the back of the third row, as the Welshman was unable to replicate his FP3 pace in Superpole. The Ducati man was heard voicing his displeasure with the front end soon after the session.

Fifth fastest on Friday, Leon Camier was again showing strongly on race rubber in the 15-minute shootout before the qualifying rubber was fitted. MV-Agusta mounted Camier will start from tenth.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Sykes, Australian WSBK 2016
Sykes, Imola WSBK 2017
Jonathan Rea, Imola WSBK 2017
Jonathan Rea, Imola WSBK 2017
Sykes, Imola WSBK 2017
Jonathan Rea, Davies and Sykes, WSBK race2, Imola WSBK 2017
Sykes, WSBK race2, Imola WSBK 2017
Sykes, WSBK race2, Imola WSBK 2017
Sykes, WSBK race2, Imola WSBK 2017
Sykes, WSBK race2, Imola WSBK 2017
Jonathan Rea, Davies and Sykes, WSBK race2, Imola WSBK 2017
Jonathan Rea, Sykes and Davies, WSBK race2, Imola WSBK 2017
Melandri and Sykes, WSBK race2, Imola WSBK 2017
Sykes and Camier, WSBK race2, Imola WSBK 2017
Jonathan Rea, WSBK race2, Imola WSBK 2017
Jonathan Rea, Akrapovic, WSBK race2, Imola WSBK 2017
Sykes, Race2, Imola WSBK 2017
Jonathan Rea, Race2, Imola WSBK 2017

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