Championship leader topped the timesheets in the ultimate Superpole clash
WorldSBK riders took to the track for the final Tissot-Superpole session of the season. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) took pole position as he inches ever closer to his second World Championship win, while the rest of the top nine qualifiers set times within one second of each other. It’s only the Northern Irishman’s second pole position this season and a significant one as he now holds the trump card heading into the final races of the season.
Honda World Superbike Team’s Nicky Hayden had incredible pace in the final minutes of the session and took second on the grid. Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing-Ducati) wasn’t quite able to translate his Friday night pace on race tyres to the qualifying tyres, but was able to lock out the front row of the grid in third.
FP3 and Superpole 1 were valuable in cleaning up the race line, after sandy winds swept over the Losail circuit throughout the day. By the time the top 12 came onto the track for Superpole 2, the track was in near-race conditions. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) qualified in fifth, sandwiched between Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Teammates Sylvain Guintoli who finished fourth and Alex Lowes in sixth. Barni Racing Team’s Xavi Fores qualified seventh, ahead of IodaRacing Team’s Lorenzo Savadori in eighth.
Michael van der Mark (Honda World Superbike Team) who was the first graduate from Superpole 1, wasn’t able to match the pace of his teammate in the second session and finished in ninth, but still was within a second of the pole man. Jordi Torres (Althea BMW Racing Team) qualified in tenth, with Davide Giugliano (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati) and Leon Camier (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) rounding out the top 12 respectively. Saeed Al Sulaiti (Pedercini Racing) finished tenth fastest in Superpole 1, meaning he will start from 20th on the grid ahead of Race 1. He'll be flying his home flag regardless of his results as the Qatari prepares for his first home race in WorldSBK.
Lights will go out for Race 1 at 20:00 local time (GMT+3) as pole-man Jonathan Rea attempts his first chance to hunt down his second consecutive World Championship.