Donington WSBK: Rea breezes to pole in the wet
Jonathan Rea continued his perfect qualifying streak in this year's World Superbike championship by easing to a fourth successive pole position in wet conditions at Donington Park.
Kawasaki rider Rea was more than a second faster than the opposition during Saturday morning practice, and enjoyed a similar margin of dominance for much of the 15-minute superpole session on a slippery track.
The Ulsterman went more than 1.3 seconds clear at the halfway point of the session with a lap of 1m40.451s, before improving to a 1m40.101s next time around.
Rea's rivals began to close the deficit after that, with BMW rider Michael van der Mark emerging as the strongest challenger with a time just under a second slower than the reigning champion.
As the chequered flag fell, Rea failed to improve on his final lap, but he held on to pole by a still-comfortable 0.525s margin with van der Mark only managing a 1m40.626s at the end.
Tom Sykes set an outright fastest first sector on the second BMW, but he couldn't keep up that pace as his final lap progressed and wound up 0.662s shy of former teammate Rea.
Alex Lowes made it two Kawasakis in the top four, albeit 1.2s slower than Rea, narrowly edging out Friday pacesetter Garrett Gerloff (GRT Yamaha) to lead the second row of the grid.
Ducati rider Scott Redding suffered a crash in morning practice and could only manage sixth in qualifying, a little under two seconds off the pace, but around half a second clear of teammate Michael Ruben Rinaldi in eighth.
Splitting the two works Panigale V4 Rs on the grid is the lead Honda of Leon Haslam, seventh-fastest despite a crash at Coppice.
Chaz Davies (Go Eleven Ducati) and Lucas Mahias (Puccetti Kawasaki) completed the top 10.
Title contender Toprak Razgatlioglu suffered a disastrous session on the factory Yamaha, managing only 13th place - two spots behind teammate Andrea Locatelli - with a time almost three seconds off the pace.
Faring even worse was the second Honda of Alvaro Bautista in 16th place, 3.5s down on Rea.
|2||60||Michael van der Mark||BMW||1'40.626||0.525|
|8||21||Michael Ruben Rinaldi||Ducati||1'42.587||2.486|
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Donington WSBK: Gerloff leads Rea in Friday practice
Donington WSBK: Razgatlioglu takes sensational win from 13th