Tom Sykes secured the final pole position of the 2015 World Superbike season with a stunning last-gasp lap under the floodlights in Qatar.
Sykes edged out Kawasaki teammate and newly crowned champion Jonathan Rea by 0.176s with his final flyer, a 1m56.821s – the fastest lap of the Losail track of the weekend by some distance.
Joining the two Kawasaki men on the front row is Ducati replacement rider Xavi Fores, who was half a second off Sykes’ searing pace but two hundredths ahead of teammate Chaz Davies.
Leon Haslam was best of the Aprilias in fifth place ahead of teammate and practice pacesetter Jordi Torres, with the Suzukis of Alex Lowes and Randy de Puniet next up in seventh and eighth.
It was a disappointing session for Honda, with Michael van der Mark the Japanese marque’s best performer in ninth ahead of Leandro Mercado (Ducati), Matteo Baiocco (Ducati) and SP1 pacestter David Salom (Kawasaki).
Baiocco also crashed later on in the session and has been subsequently diagnosed with multiple foot fractures. He will thus be forced to miss tomorrow's races.
Outgoing Honda rider Sylvain Guintoli failed to get his bike past SP1, retiring to the garage early in the session before getting inside the top two late on – only to be demoted by Salom, who progressed into SP2 along with Mercado.
|8||Randy de Puniet||Suzuki||1'57.644||0.823|
|9||Michael van der Mark||Honda||1'58.034||1.213|
|16||Leon Camier||MV Agusta||1'59.256||2.435|