Kawasaki’s Tom Sykes has taken his third WorldSBK pole position in a row, adding top spot at Laguna Seca to add to the watches he took at Donington and Misano and equalled Troy Corser’s record of three poles at the Californian track.
Sykes was some way off his own outright lap record but still put in a 1’22.246 to beat team-mate and championship leader Jonathan Rea by less than a tenth of a second. Rea was on course for top spot on his last lap but he ran into the gravel at the Corkscrew and that was all she wrote.
Aruba Ducati’s Chaz Davies was late to the party, sitting in pitlane as everyone else went out. Consequently, he got one lap less on the qualifying Pirelli but still nabbed a front-row start and was the last man in the 1’22s bracket.
Marco Melandri, on the second Panigale, took fourth place and is six-tenths slower than Sykes with Eugene Laverty putting the Milwaukee Aprilia in fifth place. The Irishman found a couple of tenths with the qualifying tyre to stay ahead of Tati Mercado on the Ioda Aprilia, who had to come through qualifying one.
Xavi Fores put the Barni Ducati at the head of row three and he is joined by Alex Lowes and Leon Camier, who is struggling when track temperatures reach their customary boiling point at Laguna. Lorenzo Savadori also came through Q1 but was only fractionally quicker in Q2.
Jordi Torres put the Althea BMW in 11th with Allex De Angelis getting his first taste of a Q-tyre this year in 12th place.
Michael Van Der Mark narrowly missed out on a Q2 spot, so starts from 13th place with Raffaele De Rosa and Roman Ramos completing the top 15. Wildcard Jake Gagne ended in 18th, one behind Red Bull Honda team-mate Stefan Bradl.