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Phillip Island WSBK: Sykes matches all-time pole tally

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Phillip Island WSBK: Sykes matches all-time pole tally
By:
Feb 24, 2018, 2:49 AM

Kawasaki's Tom Sykes drew level with Troy Corser's pole tally after claiming his 43rd World Superbike Superpole victory in a chaotic first qualifying of the 2018 season.

Anthony West, EAB Antwest Racing
Leandro Mercado, Orelac Racing Team
Luke Stapleford, Profile Racing
Randy Krummenacher, BARDAHL Evan Bros. WorldSSP Team
Randy Krummenacher, BARDAHL Evan Bros. WorldSSP Team
Lucas Mahias, GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team
Loris Baz, Althea Racing
Eugene Laverty, Milwaukee Aprilia
Marco Melandri, Aruba.it Racing-Ducati SBK Team

The session was brought to a brief halt after Friday pacesetter Lorenzo Savadori was launched from his Aprilia exiting Siberia just moments into SP2.

Once back underway, it was Savadori's Aprilia teammate Eugene Laverty who set the pace on the initial flying laps on race tyres with a 1m30.339s, the Northern Irishman almost seven tenths clear of the rest.

By the time of the qualifying tyre runs, the wind had picked up significantly around the 4.4km Phillip Island track, and this had a big effect on laptimes.

Sykes set the timing screens ablaze on his final flying lap, and shot to the top of the pile with a 1m30.099s with just a few seconds left on the clock.

With those behind struggling to find significant gain on the qualifying tyre, the Yorkshireman remained unchallenged to claim his first pole since the German round last September.

Laverty's earlier effort kept him second for the season-opener this afternoon, with Marco Melandri dragging his Ducati to third.

Alex Lowes brushed off a small fall at Turn 4 earlier in the session to qualify fourth, while Chaz Davies on the second factory Panigale leaped ahead of reigning champion Jonathan Rea, who struggled in the windy conditions.

Barni Racing's Xavi Fores edged ahead of the sister Yamaha of Michael van der Mark for seventh, while SP1 graduate Toprak Razgatlioglu put his Puccetti ZX-10RR ninth for his debut WSBK race.

Savadori was due to start 10th but has been declared unfit to race after making a trip to the medical centre for his early crash in SP2.

His non-start promotes Honda's Leon Camier and SP1 pacesetter Jordi Torres to 10th and 11th on the grid respectively, despite the duo falling on their first laps following the red flag.

Jake Gagne missed out on a place in SP2 by just a couple of tenths, the Honda rider demoting WSBK returnee Loris Baz (Althea BMW) to 13th in the closing stages of the first qualifying session.

Roman Ramos put his Go Eleven Kawasaki 14th on the grid for the opening round of the season, while Australian wildcard Wayne Maxwell heads Leandro Mercado (Orelac Kawasaki) and rookie Yonny Hernandez (Pedercini) will start 17th.

Triple M's PJ Jacobsen suffered big crash during fourth practice, and struggled in SP1 on his repaired Honda. The American will line up last for his debut later today.

Grid:

ClaRiderBikeTimeGap
1 united_kingdom Tom Sykes  Kawasaki 1'30.099  
2 ireland Eugene Laverty  Aprilia 1'30.339 0.240
3 italy Marco Melandri  Ducati 1'30.660 0.561
4 united_kingdom Alex Lowes  Yamaha 1'30.767 0.668
5 united_kingdom Chaz Davies  Ducati 1'31.009 0.910
6 united_kingdom Jonathan Rea  Kawasaki 1'31.056 0.957
7 spain Xavi Fores  Ducati 1'31.080 0.981
8 netherlands Michael van der Mark  Yamaha 1'31.240 1.141
9 turkey Toprak Razgatlioglu  Kawasaki 1'31.581 1.482
10 united_kingdom Leon Camier  Honda    
11 spain Jordi Torres  MV Agusta    
12 united_states Jake Gagne  Honda 1'31.957 1.858
13 france Loris Baz  BMW 1'32.016 1.917
14 spain Roman Ramos  Kawasaki 1'32.161 2.062
15   Wayne Maxwell  Yamaha 1'32.193 2.094
16 argentina Leandro Mercado  Kawasaki 1'32.386 2.287
17 colombia Yonny Hernandez  Kawasaki 1'32.554 2.455
18   Troy Herfoss  Honda 1'32.640 2.541
19 czech_republic Ondrej Jezek  Yamaha 1'33.088 2.989
20   Daniel Falzon  Yamaha 1'33.126 3.027
21 united_states Patrick Jacobsen  Honda 1'33.875 3.776
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Phillip Island WSBK: Melandri passes Sykes to win opener

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