World Superbike qualifying king Tom Sykes stormed to his 33rd pole position at Assen this morning, taking top spot by more than six-tenths of a second from Sylvain Guintoli and Davide Giugliano.
Kawasaki-mounted Sykes was the only man to dip under the 1’36s barrier, using Pirelli’s sticky Q-tyre in his last run to set a 1’35.440 after slowing to a crawl on track in an effort to find some space on the Dutch circuit.
The Huddersfield rider was under the existing lap record, set by team-mate Jonathan Rea last year, but some way behind Loris Baz’s pole record of 1’34.357 as the track was still drying from more overnight rain.
It was only Sykes’ fifth flying lap in dry conditions and was in danger of losing all the heat out of the rear tyre after his slow outlap and said in parc ferme that the bike was sliding a lot.
Pata Yamaha’s Guintoli set 1’36.073 to snatch second place from the Aruba Ducati of Giugliano who had taken top spot on a 1’36.391 with only a minute remaining.
Reigning world champion Jonathan Rea came out for his last run with a little under three minutes left which meant he only had time for one lap on the qualifier. His 1’36.401 was enough to secure the top of row two.
Local hero Michael Van Der Mark bagged fifth with Chaz Davies putting his Ducati in sixth place. Markus Reiterberger was the quickest of the BMWs in seventh with Aragon hero Xavi Fores one place further back but almost two seconds off the pace.
Jordi Torres, who came through from Superpole one with Althea team-mate Reiterberger, nicked ninth place from Nicky Hayden with his final effort.
Lorenzo Savadori finished in 11th place with Alex Lowes down in 12th after he crashed at the Geert Timmer chicane and wasn’t able to put in a suitably fast lap.
Leon Camier and Josh Brookes are together on row five after the pair were narrowly beaten out of Superpole two places by the Althea BMWs in a frantic session which saw Camier’s MV Agusta looking dead set for a place in the second session.
Brookes, meanwhile, has found some more direction with the setup of the Milwaukee BMW and only a technical problem on his last lap stopped him from progressing.