Brno WSBK: Sykes smashes lap record for pole
Tom Sykes smashed the Brno World Superbike lap record to snatch a 45th-career pole position, denying Kawasaki teammate Jonathan Rea in the closing stages.
Donington double winner Michael van der Mark led the early stages of the Superpole shoot-out session on his Yamaha with a 1m59.189s, though this was quickly usurped by Rea with a 1m58.881s.
Sykes leapt to second on his race tyre run, though some three tenths of a second back on his KRT stablemate.
Rea lit up the timing screens on his qualifying tyre lap in the closing stages of SP2, and stormed to a 1m57.885s, while Althea BMW's Loris Baz used the Kawasaki rider as a reference to move up to second in his bid for back-to-back front row starts.
Ducati's Marco Melandri put Rea's provisional pole lap under immense threat, and missed out by just 0.014 seconds to slot into second.
Sykes found a fraction more on his final lap, and was 0.098s up on his teammate's best as he headed into the final sector.
The Yorkshireman – who took pole on WSBK's last visit to Brno in 2012 – had a storming final sector and found a further two tenths to better his former lap record with a 1m57.687s.
Melandri's late surge dumped Baz off of the front row, and further improvements meant the French rider fall further down the order, with Alex Lowes (Yamaha) jumping up to fourth at the end ahead of Eugene Laverty (Aprilia) and van der Mark.
Lorenzo Savadori's 1m59.300s put him into seventh on the second Aprilia, with Baz ending up eighth, while Chaz Davies (Ducati) and Leon Camier (Honda) completed the top 10.
Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Ducati) was three tenths off a top 10 place in 11th, while SP1 graduate Yonny Hernandez – who returns to action this weekend having missed the UK round with visa issues – secured his best qualifying result of his maiden WSBK campaign in 12th.
Xavi Fores occupied one of the SP2 progression places in the early part of SP1, but during his final push in the closing stages of the session Hernandez tucked in behind him.
With Hernandez improving to a 1m59.605s as a result, Fores' 1m59.854s was only good enough for 13th, with Roman Ramos and Toprak Razgatlioglu completing the top 15.
|6||60||Michael van der Mark||Yamaha||1'58.223||0.536||164.526|
|11||21||Michael Ruben Rinaldi||Ducati||1'59.346||1.659||162.978|
|18||81||Jordi Torres||MV Agusta||2'00.672||2.985||161.187|
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