Sykes dominates for pole in Sepang

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Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) had to first get out of Superpole 1 to even enter Superpole 2 but he did not miss his chance to go for yet another pole ‘win’ – his fourth of the season and the 34th of his remarkable qualifying career. He now is only nine behind Troy Corser’s all-time Superpole record of 43.

Sykes took a new track best with his 2’02.246 lap. That was just under 0.8 seconds ahead of the previous best from 2014, and 0.756 seconds faster than the next best qualifier, Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) in second place. Lowes’ late charge makes him the filling in a KRT sandwich, with Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) third fastest. Lowes equalled the old track best to the 1000th of a second with his 2’03.002 pace in Superpole.

Just behind the leading three Sepang veteran but WorldSBK rookie Nicky Hayden (Honda World Superbike Team) was a distant fourth but clearly the quickest Honda rider in qualifying, while championship second place rider Chaz Davies ( Racing – Ducati) earned an important second row starting position in fifth place.

The sometimes-remarkable rookie season of Markus Reiterberger (Althea BMW Racing Team) continued on with a top six in Superpole, albeit 1.3030 seconds from the flying Sykes.

Fastest man in regular qualifying, Lorenzo Savadori (IodaRacing Team Aprilia) was seventh on the grid, Jordi Torres (Althea BMW Racing Team) eighth and the last man on the third row was factory Panigale rider Davide Giugliano ( Racing – Ducati).

Michael van der Mark (Honda World Superbike Team) just squeezed into the top ten, with practice revelation in a stand in role Anthony West (Pedercini Racing Kawasaki) 11th and Leon Camier (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) 12th.

Camier made it to Superpole 2 from Superpole one, well behind Sykes but still in with the top riders again.

Right after the Superpole session had been completed the rains started to fall, as they had done briefly at the end of Superpole one, leaving the teams looking skywards as they make a plan for today’s first WorldSBK race, scheduled at 16.00 local Malaysian time.

Gordon Ritchie

By Gordon Ritchie