Pata Yamaha’s Alex Lowes has bagged his first-ever WorldSBK pole position at Assen this morning, edging out reigning champion Jonathan Rea by 0.046s at arguably the Kawasaki man’s most-favoured track.
Lowes set a 1’34.066 on with his last effort on the Pirelli qualifying tyre and Rea wasn’t able to match it, putting in a 1’34.112 - both men were some half a second off Rea’s pole record from last year – with Xavi Fores again the leading Ducati in third place.
The anticipation had been rising, the focus was very much on an historic Superpole, and the Circuit Van Drenthe certainly delivered one. But it was not a stand alone all time record 44th for Tom Sykes, it was a maiden pole for British runner Lowes.
He has been second in Superpole twice before but despite being a veteran of 110 races he had never quite had a pole.
Fores was a more substantial 0.321 from Lowes, in again warm track conditions at Assen. He was ahead of all the official Ducatis, as his 2018 season continues apace – even at a track that is not his favourite.
Milwaukee Aprilia's Lorenzo Savadori stuck in a strong time on Saturday morning to go fourth, with Marco Melandri the leading works Ducati in fifth.
Tom Sykes was on course to beat Lowes' time, but only in his first sector, as he slowed toward the end, he finished sixth, but takes an important second row start.
Fastest man on Friday Michael van der Mark was seventh for his home round, Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) eighth, Jordi Torres (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) ninth, and the highest placed rider who qualified from Superpole 1 into Superpole 2, Loris Baz (GULF ALTHEA BMW Racing Team), tenth.
Toprak Razgatlioglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) went from SP1 to SP2 and was 11th, but fast Friday rider Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba Racing IT Ducati Junior Team) was only 12th.
After his big Friday off Jake Gagne (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team) did not take part in Superpole and will not ride in race one, with his condition to be reviewed on Sunday for race two.