Tom Sykes timed his qualifying run to perfection by snatching pole position away from home favourite Davide Giugliano in the dying seconds for his second World Superbike pole position of 2014.

The reigning world champion set his opening time with a race tyre but it was only good enough for seventh position as he pitted for his qualifying rubber with seven minutes remaining.

Yet a change of tyre and shock absorber would remedy his problems and a final lap of 1min 34.883secs bettered the next best time by 0.19s, breaking Troy Corser's four-year old Superbike lap record in the process. Sykes now stands alongside Carl Fogarty on 21 career poles in the class.

"I went out on the race tyre and the bike wasn't behaving or doing what I would like. We came in and made changes, changed the shock and put the Pirelli qualifying tyre on. From that moment I was very happy, going from one side of the track to the next, hitting all the apexes. I think we did a fantastic job, especially on the back of Malaysia."

The performance comes just two weeks after a second corner collision with team-mate Loris Baz at Sepang. Sykes arrived at the circuit on Thursday claiming his right hand injured in the incident was "improving" but he was concerned with its condition after the first free practice session.

"I was disappointed with how bad my hand was on Friday morning but race distance is good," he said. "I certainly feel we can be three or four tenths faster but we've done a good job with that. The problem was always the one lap. The hand is bruised again because I'm using it and the pressure of being out there. The [cut on the] right leg was very deep and I have some pain in my left hamstring because of a big bruise there. But every day we're able to react to these problems and find a solution and I'm happy to be on the front row."

Sykes also revealed that he is still unsure over which rear tyre to use in Sunday's double-header.

"For me it's a close call," he said. "Obviously I'm not going to give away too much information as we have a couple of good tyres. We haven't made a final decision yet and I have some doubts in my mind about two rear tyres."

The Kawasaki man also gained a great deal of satisfaction from beating two-time world champion Corser's lap record, a time the Australian believed would fall this weekend.

"We've been able to lap properly and to take the lap record off one of my racing heroes Troy Corser is a proud moment. I'm not a rider that likes to massage my ego but we'll keep working. I used to watch him in the old qualifying set up lap when it was just you on the circuit and the guy never missed an apex. I'm slowly catching him but that's something for another time. I've already apologised [to him] so I'll buy him a beer no problem!"

With his championship lead cut to 13 points after his first non-finish of the year in Malaysia Sykes believes Saturday's pole position is a good omen for Sunday.

"We've passed the test, I'm happy with stage one of the weekend and now we need to try again tomorrow. So I'm happy, we have a good starting position for tomorrow so let's go racing."



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