Tom Sykes gave the brand new Kawasaki ZX-10R its first ever pole position after coming out on top in a sensational Superpole session at Phillip Island. The Briton secured his 32nd career pole with the fastest ever Superbike lap of Phillip Island but with half a second covering the top eight riders across five different manufacturers, this afternoon’s opening race promises plenty.
Having topped Friday’s practice sessions which set the field for SP2, Sylvain Guintoli was the favourite heading into the pole position shootout and the Frenchman was the first rider into the 1:30s, edging out reigning champion Jonathan Rea. Davide Giugliano would usurp Guintoli at the top of the leaderboard before returning to the garage but once qualifying tyres were fitted, the order would be transformed dramatically.
The first man to challenge Giugliano was Aruba Ducati teammate Chaz Davies with the Welshman lowering the benchmark time to a 1:30.717 but Michael van der Mark snatched top spot for Honda, a quarter of a second faster. The Kawasakis were next to show their hand, Sykes and Rea establishing a 1-2 for the reigning manufacturer champions and although Giugliano found seven tenths on his earlier effort, it was only good enough to split the British teammates.
Guintoli will head the second row after only managing fourth on qualifying rubber while teammate Alex Lowes will start alongside in fifth, a relief for the Lincolnshire rider having started in SP1. Van der Mark slipped to sixth with his teammate Nicky Hayden next up but Lorenzo Savadori surely produced the performance of the session, pipping Davies to eighth on his WSBK debut for Ioda Aprilia.
WorldSBK 2016: Australian Round – Superpole Classification
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