In the Spanish sunshine it was the Italian Ducati rider who took pole in SP2 at Jerez on Saturday morning ahead of fellow front row qualifiers Rea and Lowes
In Tissot Superpole 2 at the Pirelli Spanish Round on Saturday morning it was Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati) who secured pole position for Race 1, registering a new record 1’38.960 lap at the resurfaced Jerez circuit on his Ducati Panigale R. Behind him Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) and Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) also qualified on the front row, in second and third places respectively.
A new outright lap record on the new asphalt at the southern Spanish track for Melandri puts him on pole for the first time in 2017 and the first time in WorldSBK since 2011. His hot lap put him +0.021s ahead of World Champion Rea who pushed for his best lap in the final seconds of the session.
Lowes was just behind the leading two having set a time +0.282s off pole and his efforts kept fourth placed rider Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) off the front row.
Having made it through from SP1 Leon Camier (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) used his rhythm from that session to set provisional pole in the opening five minutes of SP2, though he would eventually qualify ninth. After Camier’s early pace-setting time Sykes then set provisional P1 on race rubber, with Melandri then taking over at the top before further improving in the final two minutes of SP2.
Sykes’ fourth place on the grid is good work considering he is still recovering from wrist and finger injuries sustained in Portugal in September.
Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) and Lorenzo Savadori (Milwaukee Aprilia) slot in behind Sykes on the second row. Meanwhile the third row features Eugene Laverty (Milwaukee Aprilia), Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati) and Davies’ good friend Camier.
Roman Ramos (Team Kawasaki Go Eleven) qualified tenth having made it through to SP2 automatically on Friday for the first time this season. Returning 2014 World Champion Sylvain Guintoli will line up in 11th on his Kawasaki ZX-10RR, riding for the Kawasaki Puccetti Racing team at the final two rounds of the season.
Xavi Fores (BARNI Racing Team) completes the top 12 on the grid. In the earlier Tissot Superpole 1 session it was Camier who led the way with a sharp 1'40.062 lap on the MV Agusta 1000 F4, with Fores also joining him in graduation to SP2 as the Spaniard lapped 0.363s down on the Englishman.
The WorldSBK riders will get their first race of the Pirelli Spanish Round underway around the superb 4.423km Circuito de Jerez at 1pm local time (GMT+2).