Kawasaki’s Tom Sykes took his third successive Donington Park WorldSBK pole position this morning and beat his own lap record in the process to start this afternoon’s opening race from top spot with team-mate Jonathan Rea and title rival Chaz Davies completing the front row.
Sykes blasted to a 1’26.641 to head runaway championship leader Rea by a little less than four-tenths of a second while Davies upped his game to run a 1’27.338 but he is a further three-tenths further back on the Aruba Ducati. Rea did have another crack at a pole lap just ahead of the chequered flag but was held up up by the Pata Yamaha of Michael Van Der Mark.
The Dutchman’s team-mate Alex Lowes was on pole schedule right until the last sector on his fastest lap but a front-row start slipped away from him two-tenths and he starts at the head of row two with Marco Melandri alongside him. Milwaukee Aprilia’s Eugene Laverty left pitlane behind Rea and followed him around for a 1’27.880 to collect sixth on the grid.
Xavi Fores came through Superpole one to set a time good enough for seventh place on the grid but it was disaster for Leon Haslam who crashed unhurt at the Old Hairpin and his best lap of 1’28.254 limited him to eighth place, just ahead of Tati Mercado and Leon Camier’s MV Agusta.
Van Der Mark and Lorenzo Savadori completed the top 12 while Jordi Torres and Randy Krummenacher were the best of the Superpole one runners who didn’t qualify for the second session. MCE British Superbike star Jake Dixon upped his game significantly again in the first session, dropping to a 1’29.168 to claim 16th on the grid, one ahead of Stefan Bradl on the Red Bull Honda.