Sykes claims Phillip Island pole with new lap record

Kawasaki rider Tom Sykes set a new World Superbike lap record at Phillip Island on Saturday to claim the first pole position of the 2016 World Superbikes Championship (WSBK).

Sykes’ fastest time was 18 thousands of a second up on Sylvain Guintoli’s two-year old record, as the former champion outpaced Davide Giugliano and last year’s winner Jonathan Rea Down Under.

Despite posting a time of 1m 30.020s on the 2.7-mile track, the Englishman feels he could have dipped into the 1m29s had his rear tyre not gone off at the end of his flying lap. Nevertheless, Sykes’ time was enough to hand him pole position with a 0.078s advantage over Giugliano.

Defending champion Rea completed the front row but the Kawasaki rider was more than a tenth down on his pace-setting team-mate. After the session, the Ulsterman conceded that perhaps he was too cautious on the qualifying rubber.

Friday’s pace-setter Guintoli will start on the second row, ahead of Alex Lowes, who set the pace during SP1 earlier. Lowes acknowledged that his riding style needed some adjustments on the fast changes of Phillip Island, although the former British Superbike champion did look smoother the longer the session continued.

Michael van der Mark edged out his Honda team-mate Nicky Hayden for the final spot on the second row, while reigning FIM Superstock 1000 champion Lorenzo Savadori claimed eighth.

Chaz Davies showed remarkable pace during FP3 but was unable to replicate that form in qualifying and will start from the back of the third row.

After posting the fifth fastest time on Friday, MV-Agusta rider Leon Camier once again performed well in the 15-minute shoot-out to round out the top 10.

Full Superpole results 

1. Tom Sykes GBR Kawasaki Racing ZX-10R 1m 30.020s
2. Davide Giugliano ITA Racing Ducati 1199R 1m 30.098s
3. Jonathan Rea GBR Kawasaki Racing ZX-10R 1m 30.170s
4. Sylvain Guintoli FRA PATA Crescent Yamaha R1 1m 30.281s
5. Alex Lowes GBR PATA Crescent Yamaha R1 1m 30.354s
6. Michael van der Mark NED Honda Racing CBR1000RR 1m 30.468s
7. Nicky Hayden USA Honda Racing CBR1000RR 1m 30.479s
8. Lorenzo Savadori ITA IodaRacing Aprilia RSV4 1m 30.609s
9. Chaz Davies GBR Racing Ducati 1199R 1m 30.717s
10. Leon Camier GBR MV Agusta RC F4 RR 1m 30.795s
11. Markus Reiterberger GER Althea BMW S1000RR 1m 31.031s
12. Jordi Torres ESP Althea BMW S1000RR 1m 31.207s

Positions 13-23 determined by SP1 

13. Xavi Fores ESP Barni Ducati 1199R 1m 31.871s
14. Josh Brookes AUS Milwaukee BMW S1000RR 1m 31.927s
15. Sylvain Barrier FRA Pedercini Kawasaki ZX-10R 1m 32.077s
16. Karel Abraham CZE Althea BMW S1000RR 1m 32.117s
17. Roman Ramos ESP GO Eleven Kawasaki ZX-10R 1m 32.194s
18. Alex de Angelis RSM IodaRacing Aprilia RSV4 1m 33.507s
19. Dominic Schmitter SUI Grillini Kawasaki ZX-10R 1m 33.664s
20. Saeed al Sulaiti QAT Pedercini Kawasaki ZX-10R 1m 33.690s
21. Mike Jones AUS Desmo Sport Ducati 1199R 1m 33.722s
22. Peter Sebesteyen HUN Team Toth Yamaha R1 1m 34.346s
23. Imre Toth HUN Team Toth Yamaha R1 1m 36.272s