Rea Snatches Thailand Pole Position From Haslam


Jonathan Rea secured back-to-back pole positions at the start of the 2015 World Superbike Championship after denying Leon Haslam in the dying seconds of Superpole in Thailand. The British pair, who share the championship lead, renewed their thrilling rivalry from Phillip Island with just one hundredth of a second separating them but Rea ultimately prevailed for the sixth pole of his SBK career.

Alex Lowes qualified for Superpole as the quickest rider from free practice but Haslam served notice of his potential with the quickest time of the weekend in FP4 shortly before the fight for pole began. Rea was first to show his hand in SP2 although all riders were making their initial bid for pole on a race tyre, the Ulsterman clocking a 1:33.970 to lead Haslam and his own teammate Tom Sykes.

Ducati kick-started the scramble on soft tyres with Troy Bayliss using a qualifier to briefly claim a front row spot, only to be usurped by his teammate Chaz Davies. Neither could match the pace of the Kawasakis on a race tyre though and when the Kawasaki unleashed its performance on the softer rubber, pole was comfortably out of reach for the Panigale pair.

The biggest jump on qualifying tyres initially came from the Kawasaki of Sykes with the 2013 champion pinching top spot on a 1:33.954 but Haslam followed his compatriot over the finish line with a 1:33.477, laying down a serious marker to the competition. Rea had an answer though and despite a second blistering lap in succession from the Aprilia, Jonathan proved the stronger with a 1:33.382, 0.011s underneath Haslam’s second effort.

Alex Lowes followed up his practice performance with a maiden front row in World Superbikes, stealing third from Sykes in the dying seconds, while Jordi Torres’ unusual strategy of staying out on a single set of race tyres left him fifth, seven tenths off pole. The Ducatis of Davies and Bayliss slipped back to sixth and seventh with the PATA Hondas of Michael van der Mark and Sylvain Guintoli close behind while Leandro Mercado, David Salom and Matteo Baiocco will make up the fourth row of the grid.

After morning rain prevented any hope of improving on Friday’s practice times, Van der Mark was forced into a dogfight in Superpole 1 and the Dutch rookie was slightly fortunate to advance. The PATA Honda rider was second quickest behind the Barni Ducati of Mercado but Sylvan Barrier was on target to knock him out, only for a last corner mistake to cost the BMW rider vital time and keep him back in third.

As a result, the Frenchman starts thirteenth but he wasn’t the only high profile casualty in SP1 with Nicolas Terol and Randy de Puniet both falling at the first hurdle, leaving them fourteenth and sixteenth respectively on tomorrow’s grid.

 

CHANG THAI ROUND: SUPERPOLE CLASSIFICATION

1 Jonathan Rea Kawasaki Kawasaki Racing Team 1:33.382
2 Leon Haslam Aprilia Aprilia Racing Team – Red Devils 1:33.393
3 Alex Lowes Suzuki Voltcom Crescent Suzuki 1:33.738
4 Tom Sykes Kawasaki Kawasaki Racing Team 1:33.841
5 Jordi Torres Aprilia Aprilia Racing Team – Red Devils 1:34.080
6 Chaz Davies Ducati Aruba.it Racing – Ducati SBK Team 1:34.084
7 Troy Bayliss Ducati Aruba.it Racing – Ducati SBK Team 1:34.334
8 Michael van der Mark Honda PATA Honda World Superbike 1:34.514
9 Sylvain Guintoli Honda PATA Honda World Superbike 1:34.562
10 Leandro Mercado Ducati Barni Racing Team 1:34.674
11 David Salom Kawasaki Team Pedercini 1:34.961
12 Matteo Baiocco Ducati Althea Racing 1:35.024
ELIMINATED IN SUPERPOLE 1
13 Sylvain Barrier BMW BMW Motorrad Italia SBK 1:35.115
14 Nicolas Terol Ducati Althea Racing 1:35.255
15 Leon Camier MV Agusta MV Agusta Reparto Corse 1:35.267
16 Randy de Puniet Suzuki Voltcom Crescent Suzuki 1:35.578
17 Roman Ramos Kawasaki Team Go Eleven 1:36.226
18 Niccolo Canepa EBR Team Hero EBR 1:36.466
19 Christophe Ponsson Kawasaki Grillini SBK Team 1:36.788
20 Santiago Barragan Kawasaki Grillini SBK Team 1:37.536
FAILED TO QUALIFY FOR SUPERPOLE 1
21 Anucha Nakcharoensri Honda YSS TS Racing 1:38.174
22 Greg Gildenhuys Kawasaki Team Pedercini 1:38.767
23 Larry Pegram EBR Team Hero EBR 1:38.772
24 Imre Toth BMW BMW Team Toth 1:39.256
25 Ireneusz Sikora BMW BMW Team Toth 1:40.719
26 Chanon Chumjai BMW RAC Oil Racing Team 1:40.810