WorldSBK Superpole specialist Tom Sykes has taken his final pole position for Kawasaki ini Qatar this afternoon, pipping team-mate Jonathan Rea by a tenth of a second with Alex Lowes completing the front row.
Rea had bagged top spot with his last lap, setting a 1’56.255 to set a new outright lap record but Sykes had other ideas with the Pirelli qualifier, putting in a 1’56.124. Lowes edged out yesterday’s fastest man Eugene Laverty with a 1’56.355.
It was a classic Sykes Superpole performance which gave him the best starting place for today’s race at Losail, as he waited until all others had set their best times and then pounced with a lap that could not be beaten.
His 1’56.124 new track best was just under Rea’s year old record and was a perfect result to make sure his final weekend as an official Kawasaki rider would be a memorable one, even before race one gets underway. He extended his own all time Superpole total with his 48th pre-race ‘win’ and his sixth pole of 2018.
Fastest man on Thursday, Eugene Laverty (Milwaukee Aprilia), was fourth today, heading up row two. His team-mate Lorenzo Savadori and top Independent rider in 2018, Xavi Fores (Barni Ducati) was once again the top Ducati runner, in sixth.
Loris Baz (Althea BMW) was seventh, Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha) eighth and Marco Melandri (Aruba Ducati) ninth, 1.283 seconds behind Sykes.
Leon Camier (Red Bull Honda) recovered from his big first day fall to tenth on the grid for race one, with Toprak Razgatlioglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) 11th and Chaz Davies 12th.