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Tom Sykes has been made to sweat to take a second pole position of the year for Kawasaki Racing after Pata Crescent Yamaha duo Sylvain Guintoli and Alex Lowes almost pulled off a shock one-two.
Despite needing to progress from Superpole one after ending Friday practice a lowly 14th, Guintoli produced a blistering lap with a 1m 49.583s and was quickly backed up by Lowes to make it a surprise Yamaha top two as the chequered flag was readied.
However, qualifying specialist Sykes pulled out another wonderful lap to pinch pole from Guintoli by two-tenths with a 1m 49.374s. The factory Yamaha crew held on to their smiles though as none of its rivals could improve their positions meaning Guintoli and Lowes join Sykes on the front row.
The shock Yamaha gains saw Chaz Davies drop to the second row in fourth, with defending champion Jonathan Rea planting his Kawasaki in the middle of the two Aruba.it Racing Ducati as Davide Giugliano completed row two.
Honda Racing's impressive free practice pace failed to show in qualifying after Thailand pole-sitter Michael van der Mark suffered a crash on his final flyer which left him in 11th. Team-mate Nicky Hayden, who had to take avoiding action after van der Mark's fall just in front of him, also struggled to produce a smooth lap and will start 10th.
As a result of Honda's issues, Leon Camier, Jordi Torres and Xavi Fores make up the third row which could see an intriguing shake-up in the races over the first few laps.