Rea grabs pole in Thailand
Jonathan Rea has claimed his second straight Superpole of 2017 by edging out factory Kawasaki team-mate Tom Sykes by two-tenths in a frantic qualifying session in which Chaz Davies slid off only to recover to grab a second row start. The defending World Superbike champion produced a clean sweep of top times in free practice and duly converted it with a 1m 32.957s despite all riders being forced to use race tyres rather than the qualifying compound due to extreme heat making it unsafe.
Sykes had put himself on provisional pole with a 1m 33.192s on his final lap but his team-mate had enough of an advantage left to break into the 1m 32s bracket and double up from his pole in Phillip Island. With Sykes making it a Kawasaki 1-2 in qualifying the front row is a repeat of Australia with Marco Melandri taking third for Aruba.it Racing Ducati albeit half a second off Rea. Pata Yamaha's Alex Lowes heads up the second row having taken advantage of Davies' off midway through Superpole 2 when he suffered a low side off at turn six having completed just one flying lap. The Welsh rider was able to recover his stricken Panigale and return to the pits to fix the bike and set a quicker time which handed him fifth.
Michael van der Mark claimed sixth for Pata Yamaha with Milwaukee Aprilia's Eugene Laverty taking the front of the third row ahead of Xavi Fores and Lorenzo Savadori. Althea BMW's Jordi Torres heads up row four despite completing just one timed lap in Superpole 2 ahead of Leon Camier and Markus Reiterberger.
In Superpole 1 it was a disappointing qualifying for Red Bull Honda with both Nicky Hayden and Stefan Bradl failing to ramp up a charge, with Hayden starting 14th and Bradl 16th for race one at the Thai round.