Tom Sykes says he has reason to be happy with a front row qualifying position ahead of the final two World Superbike races in Qatar, not least because he will start ahead of main rival Sylvain Guintoli.

Having ended the first day of free practice down in eighth place, Sykes spent his Saturday climbing through the order, eventually qualifying in third position, ahead of Guintoli in fifth place.

Indeed, Sykes says he was primed to go faster had Alex Lowes not crashed in front of him, but the Kawasaki Racing rider - who leads Guintoli by 12 points coming into the final two races of the season - is happy to have clear air in front of him.

"Yesterday on the timing sheets it didn't show our true potential, we only used minimal tyres. Today we worked on the set-up of the ZX-10R so I am very happy. There are a couple of things I want to work on to improve settings for tomorrow, but I am happy to be on the front row.

"We had an issue with the crash for Alex Lowes and it really upset my lap and I lost a lot of time. The positive is we qualified on the front row and we have a clear track in front for the start of tomorrow's races.

Indeed, Sykes says he is surprised to have emerged ahead of certain riders after qualifying, but insist he is only focused on his own issues.

"Without saying too much, there are some bikes which cannot use the rear qualifying as well as some manufacturers for a couple of reasons, but tomorrow is the one that counts. I was surprised, I was expecting a couple more riders up at the front but it looks like they made a mistake. I will focus on my own issues for the two races, I am hoping to improve the Ninja a little bit more."

Though Guintoli has had the momentum in recent races, Sykes is still well positioned to win the title in Qatar. Indeed, should Sykes win the first race and Guintoli finish fifth or lower, he will wrap it up with one race



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