Rea delivers in spectacular fashion to take Pole at Misano

by Robert Jones

Jonathan Rea secured his third Pole Position of the year at round seven in Misano, with a last gasp effort to deny Sandro Cortese and Tom Sykes.

The defending champion was quickest throughout the Superpole session, as all the riders focused on their final laps of race simulation, before a blistering lap time on the qualifying tyre put the Kawasaki Ninja H2R rider in a class of his own.

Joining Rea on the front row, are Friday’s standout performers Cortese and Sykes, who have consistently been at the sharp end of the timing sheets.

Cortese saw his teammate Marco Melandri finish on the podium twice last time out in Spain, and the German rider has looked highly motivated to do the same this weekend. The start will be crucial for Cortese to determine if he can keep pace at the front, as his rhythm over race distance looks promising for a podium challenge.

Sykes is regarded as one of the quickest riders ever over one lap in World Superbike history, with the Motorrad BMW rider claiming seven poles at Misano so far in his career. Although he could not match his former teammate, Sykes will be hoping this pace can carry through into race one. 

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Starting on the second row in fourth place is Alex Lowes, ahead of championship leader Alvaro Bautista. The Spaniard was sitting in second place for the majority of the session, but struggled to turn the qualifying tyre on.

This means the Ducati rider will need a good start if he is to challenge Rea for victory, who will no doubt see this as a big opportunity to reduce the points deficit with Bautista out of position. 

Sixth on the gird is the second factory Kawasaki of Leon Haslam. The 2018 British Superbike champion has so far enjoyed a better weekend than in Jerez and Imola, and with Toprak Razgatloiglu performing well of late, a decent points return will be crucial for Haslam in his hope to remain with the team next year. 

Lining up seventh is Michael Ruben-Rinaldi, with teammate for the weekend Michele Pirro and Chaz Davies making it an all Ducati row three.

Ruben-Rinaldi had a slow start to the season, but the Italian has been superb in recent races, and has regularly been performing as well, if not better than factory rider Davies. 

Davies has had good race pace throughout the weekend so far, and will hope to push on come race one. However, another poor qualifying, which has been his biggest issue on a Saturday has left the Welshman with plenty to do. 

The remainder of the weekend will be without the man in form Michael Van Der Mark sadly, as the Dutchman’s huge crash in Free Practice 2 resulted in the Yamaha rider suffering a broken wrist, along with rib injuries and concussion. 

Be sure to join the action from 13:00 on Eurosport live for race one at Misano.

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