Tom Sykes smashed the Sepang lap record on his way to claiming pole position by a dominant 0.756s at the end of a frantic Superpole session in Malaysia.

The Kawasaki star, currently third in the world championship with one race win, was earlier forced to take part in Superpole 1 due to his eleventh place in Friday practice.

A brief rain shower just as S1 began raised the tension further, but the Englishman held his nerve and - as track conditions improved - went on to lead the session from Leon Camier.

Sykes took that momentum straight into Superpole 2, where he set the pace by the halfway stage before the likes of Chaz Davies, Nicky Hayden and Jonathan rea took turns at the top.

But Sykes responded on his final lap, vaulting from fourth to first with a new all-time WorldSBK best of 2m 2.246s on the resurfaced circuit.

Pata Yamaha's Alex Lowes - seventh in the previous FP3 session - then snatched a surprise second at the flag, with reigning world champion and 2016 points leader Rea a fraction slower for third.

Hayden, who knows the Sepang layout well from years of MotoGP testing, was bumped to row two (+1.189s), where he will be joined by Ducati's man-of-the-moment Davies (+1.239s) and Althea BMW's Marcus Reiterberger (+1.303s).

Friday leader Lorenzo Savadori (Ioda Aprilia) will start from seventh, followed by Jordi Torres (Althea), Davide Giugliano (Ducati), Michael van der Mark (Honda), Pedercini stand-in Anthony West and Leon Camier.

Alex de Angelis and Josh Brookes were the best of those not to progress beyond Superpole 1.

Race one takes place later this afternoon, with clouds continuing to gather overhead...