Marco Melandri set a new lap record to claim pole position at the Spanish leg of the World Superbike Series on Saturday.
The Italian returned to the WSBK tour earlier this year after a hiatus from the sport and has now grabbed his first pole since his comeback.
The 35-year-old posted a sizzling 1m 38.960s on his Aruba.it Racing Ducati around the sun-baked Jerez circuit, edging riders’ championship leader Jonathan Rea by just 0.021s for his second career pole position, six years after the first.
Pata Yamaha’s Alex Lowes would complete the front row, three tenths behind Rea. Tom Sykes starts in the second row on his Kawasaki, followed by Michael van der Mark and Lorenzo Savadori.
Chaz Davies, who won both races at Jerez last season, could not repeat that hot pace as he settled for eighth fastest in a disappointing superpole session.
? @MarcoMelandri33 on pole for Saturday showdown at Jerez
— WorldSBK (@WorldSBK) October 21, 2017
1. Marco Melandri ITA Aruba.it Racing Ducati Panigale R 1m 38.960s
2. Jonathan Rea GBR Kawasaki Racing ZX-10RR 1m 38.981s
3. Alex Lowes GBR PATA Crescent Yamaha R1 1m 39.242s
4. Tom Sykes GBR Kawasaki Racing ZX-10RR 1m 39.318s
5. Michael van der Mark NED PATA Yamaha YZF-R1 1m 39.561s
6. Lorenzo Savadori ITA Milwaukee Aprilia RSV4 1m 39.776s
7. Eugene Laverty IRE Milwaukee Aprilia RSV4 1m 39.839s
8. Chaz Davies GBR Aruba.it Racing Ducati Panigale R 1m 39.840s
9. Leon Camier GBR MV Agusta RC F4 RR 1m 39.957s
10. Roman Ramos ESP Team Go Eleven Kawasaki ZX-10RR 1m 40.388s
11. Sylvain Guintoli FRA Puccetti Kawasaki ZX-10RR 1m 40.413s
12. Xavi Fores ESP Barni Ducati Panigale R 1m 40.535s
13. Leandro Mercado ARG IodaRacing Aprilia RSV4 1m 40.842s
14. Raffaele De Rosa ITA Althea BMW S1000RR 1m 40.916s
15. Jordi Torres ESP Althea BMW S1000RR 1m 40.992s
16. Alessandro Andreozzi ITA Guandalini Yamaha YZF-R1 1m 41.024s
17. Davide Giugliano ITA Red Bull Honda CBR1000RR SP2 1m 41.326s
18. Ondrej Jezek CZE Grillini Kawasaki ZX-10RR 1m 41.890s
19. Riccardo Russo ITA Pedercini Kawasaki ZX-10RR 1m 42.377s
20. Ayrton Badovini ITA Grillini Kawasaki ZX-10RR 1m 42.516s
21. Takumi Takahashi JPN Red Bull Honda CBR1000RR SP2 1m 42.804s
22. Dominic Schmitter SUI 81 HPC-Power Suzuki GSX-R1000 1m 45.942s