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Magny-Cours WSBK: Sykes blasts to provisional pole

Works Kawasaki man Tom Sykes has blasted his way to provisional pole position for Sunday's World Superbike title decider at Magny-Cours, banging in a last set of laps which took him nearly half-a-second clear of reigning champion Carlos Checa this afternoon.

The Huddersfield man, who is still in with a chance of lifting the title, grabbed top spot with a 1'38.200 which knocked Checa down to second after the Spaniard had himself demoted Sykes a few minutes earlier with a 1'38.648 but the gritty northerner was not to be denied.

It was a frantic final ten minutes with Sykes, Checa and Melandri in the scrap for top spot but the injured Italian finally had to settle for third place and three quarters of a second in arrears with Checa's team-mate Davide Guigliano in fourth.


One second had covered the top 12 until Sykes and Checa got the hammer down and their pace saw a late lap from Jonathan Rea, which was still good enough for fifth place, eight-tenths back of the leader. Rea had problems with his rear pads halfway through the session but was still able to post a quick time.

Michel Fabrizio found some pace over lunch to pop into sixth place, one slot ahead of championship favourite Max Biaggi, who is nearly a second in arrears and has Leon Haslam, who crashed and injured his hand this morning, snapping at his heels 0.005s behind.

Sylvaun Guintoli was able to match the leaders through the first three sectors but his Pata Ducati is losing in the drag to the line and he finished the session in ninth, just ahead of Leon Camier on the Fixi Suzuki, who have today renewed their title sponsorship deal for 2013.

Eugene Laverty, on the second works RSV4, was as high as fifth early on but slipped back down the order with Ayrton Badovini, Lorenzo Zanetti, Maxime Berger and Loris Baz completing the top 15. Chaz Davies, who lost the whole of this morning with a fault, is 16th and 1.8s behind pole.

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