Magny-Cours WSBK: Sykes denies Rea pole with lap record
Tom Sykes snatched World Superbike Magny-Cours pole away from Kawasaki teammate Jonathan Rea with a new lap record.
World champion-elect Rea held top spot for almost the entirety of the second Superpole session a Ducati and was 0.9s clear of the field before Sykes usurped him with his final effort.
Rea was four tenths faster than anyone else after his first lap on race rubber with a 1m36.726s, though Sykes was able to keep the Ulsterman honest by going just two tenths slower moments later.
First out on circuit on qualifying rubber, Rea demolished Sykes' old lap record with a 1m35.843s, which put him almost a second clear of everyone else and saw him retreat to pitlane for the closing moments.
Milwaukee Aprilia's Lorenzo Savadori proved Rea's closest challenger as the session entered its dying seconds, but was some eight tenths shy.
However, Sykes began to light up the timing screens on his final Q-tyre lap, pulling back several hundredths on his KRT stablemate through the first three sectors.
Sykes maintained his advantage across the line to go 0.147s clear with a 1m35.696s to claim his fifth pole of the 2018 season.
Savadori qualified on the front row in third despite smashing his bike to bits in a heavy FP4 crash this morning, while Barni Racing's Xavi Fores was top Ducati runner at the head of row two in fourth.
Alex Lowes will launch from fifth on the first of the Yamahas, with Chaz Davies in sixth heading sister Aruba Ducati of Michael Ruben Rinaldi – who also crashed in FP4 – while Marco Melandri could only muster 12th.
Home hero Loris Baz put his Althea BMW eighth, with SP1 graduates Toprak Razgatlioglu and Leon Camier sandwiching the Yamaha of Michael van der Mark.
On pole two weeks ago in Portugal, Milwaukee Aprilia's Eugene Laverty was caught out in the closing moments of SP1 by late improvements from Camier and Razgatlioglu.
Opting against a final run the final minutes, Laverty will have to start race one from 13th, with the sister Honda of Jake Gagne alongside him after the American missed out on progressing to SP2 by just two tenths.
Yonny Hernandez's Pedercini replacement Jeremy Guarnoni will start from 19th on his customer ZX-10RR, while fellow French rider and wildcard Matthieu Lussiana is a doubt for race one, having encountered yet more technical issues with his Dreamteamcompany Aprilia in Superpole which left him unable to set a laptime.
|7||21||Michael Ruben Rinaldi||Ducati||1'36.999||1.303||163.708|
|10||60||Michael van der Mark||Yamaha||1'37.239||1.543||163.304|
|15||81||Jordi Torres||MV Agusta||1'38.129||2.433||161.823|
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