Tom Sykes gave his hopes of a fourth successive Donington Park double a welcome boost as he grabbed pole position for the British round of the World Superbike Championship.
As expected given his impressive record at the Leicestershire circuit, Sykes set the early pace in Superpole 2 as he led team-mate Jonathan Rea by 0.111s.
Lorenzo Savadori was third fastest, a further 0.135s down.
On his second run Sykes threw down the gauntlet as he lapped the 4.023km circuit in a time of 1:26.712, a new lap record. It handed him his 35th career pole position.
Chaz Davies improved to second place but was a massive 0.860s down on the Yorkshireman while Savadori finished third. He was a further 0.019s off the pace.
Championship leader Rea qualified in fourth place ahead of Davide Giugliano and Jordi Torres.
Alex Lowes was forced to pull out of the weekend’s events on Saturday morning. The Pata Yamaha rider had been cleared to race on Friday despite breaking his left collarbone at Sepang two weeks ago, a break that required surgery to fix.
However in the wake of FP3 he was in too much pain to continue and was declared unfit, leaving P12 empty. That position, though, will go to Michael van der Mark for Saturday’s race as all those in Superpole 1 will move forward one place on the grid.
South Africa’s Sheridan Morais, who was back in WSBK as he replaced Josh Hook at Grillini Kawasaki, was another rider forced to withdraw on Saturday morning after crashing heavily in final practice.
1. Tom Sykes Kawasaki Racing ZX-10R 1:26.712
2. Chaz Davies Aruba.it Racing Ducati 1199R 1:27.572
3. Lorenzo Savadori IodaRacing Aprilia RSV4 1:27.591
4. Jonathan Rea Kawasaki Racing ZX-10R 1:27.601
5. Davide Giugliano Aruba.it Racing Ducati 1199R 1:27.602
6. Jordi Torres Althea BMW S1000RR 1:28.046
7. Nicky Hayden Honda Racing CBR1000RR 1:28.127
8. Leon Camier MV Agusta RC F4 RR 1:28.409
9. Cameron Beaubier PATA Crescent Yamaha R1 1:28.617
10. Xavi Fores Barni Ducati 1199R 1:28.663
11. Karel Abraham Milwaukee BMW S1000RR 1:30.345
12. Alex Lowes PATA Crescent Yamaha R1 No time
13. Michael van der Mark Honda Racing CBR1000RR 1:28.806
14. Alex de Angelis IodaRacing Aprilia RSV4 1:28.866
15. Josh Brookes Milwaukee BMW S1000RR 1:29.029
16. Roman Ramos GO Eleven Kawasaki ZX-10R 1:29.289
17. Luca Scassa VFT Ducati 1199R 1:29.377
18. Anthony West Pedercini Kawasaki ZX-10R 1:29.377
19. Markus Reiterberger Althea BMW S1000RR 1:29.406
20. Dominic Schmitter Grillini Kawasaki ZX-10R 1:30.275
21. Matthieu Lussiana Team ASPI BMW S1000RR 1:30.635
22. Saeed al Sulaiti Pedercini Kawasaki ZX-10R 1:31.378
23. Pawel Szkopek Team Toth Yamaha R1 1:31.742
24. Imre Toth Team Toth Yamaha R1 1:34.549
25. Sherdian Morais Grillini Kawasaki ZX-10R No time