Sykes takes pole with new record in front of British fans
At the PATA UK Round on Saturday it was the Kawasaki man at the head of the SP2 timesheet, with Rea and Davies also grabbing front row spots
In clear, sunny conditions early on Saturday afternoon at the exciting Donington Park Circuit Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) notched his first pole position of 2017 thanks to a superb 1’26.641 lap in Tissot Superpole 2, with Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) and Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati) joining him on the front row for Race 1.
Pushing the Kawasaki ZX-10RR to its limits around the 4.023km circuit in front of the home crowd, Sykes set a new WorldSBK record of his home track, beating the previous best lap (1'26.712) which he set in 2016. Sykes has a brilliant record at Donington being unbeaten at the venue in eight successive races.
World Champion Rea qualified in second, lapping +0.364s behind his KRT colleague. Meanwhile Ducati man Davies made a big step forward from Friday and went round +0.697s behind Sykes in third.
Lining up at the head of row two for Race 1 at the sixth round of 2017 will be another Brit - Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) – who lapped just under nine tenths down on Sykes for fourth on the grid. Set to line up behind Lowes are Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati) and Eugene Laverty (Milwaukee Aprilia) in fifth and sixth respectively.
Row 3 will feature Xavi Fores (BARNI Racing Team), wildcard Leon Haslam (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) and Argentina’s Leandro Mercado (IODARacing). Haslam lost the front end at turn 1 in the final moments of the session meaning he could not improve from eighth place.
Completing the top 12 and therefore set to get away from the fourth row are Leon Camier (MV Agusta Reparto Corse), Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) and Lorenzo Savadori (Milwaukee Aprilia).
Before SP2 it was Laverty who topped the timesheet in the preceding SP1 session courtesy of a 1'28.149 lap, with Spaniard Fores also joining the Irishman in graduation to the second Superpole run.
Race 1 at the PATA UK Round will see the WorldSBK riders do battle over 23 laps of Donington, with the contest commencing at 3pm local time.