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WORLD SUPERBIKES

Sykes secures birthday pole position

Tom Sykes has moved to within one pole position of all-time World Superbike record holder Troy Corser with his 42nd career pole on his 32nd birthday at the Lausitzring. Having topped all the free practice sessions, Sykes looked in untouchable form once he switched to the Superpole special tyre with a 1m 36.121s straight out of the blocks to leave his rivals trailing. Sykes, who has claimed Kawasaki’s 70th pole in the series, has now clinched four consecutive Superpoles having missed out on any pole positions at the start of 2017 and has the chance to equal Corser’s record at Portimao next time out.

The Kawasaki domination continued with Jonathan Rea taking second place in qualifying but he was made to work for it after Milwaukee Aprilia’s Lorenzo Savadori held provisional second before the final flying laps. Despite missing out, Savadori still secured his first front row since last year’s Donington Park round and Milwaukee Aprilia’s first top three start of 2017. That saw the Aruba.it Racing Ducati squad slip to the second row with Marco Melandri fourth, a surprising fifth place by Althea BMW’s Jordi Torres, while Chaz Davies qualified an underwhelming sixth.

Alex Lowes led the Pata Yamaha charge in seventh ahead of Eugene Laverty on the second Milwaukee Aprilia as MV Agusta’s Leon Camier rounded out row three. Wildcarding Markus Reiterberger wasn’t quite able to carry his impressive free practice pace into Superpole two on the Van Zon Remeha BMW in 10th, as Superpole one graduates Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha) and Xavi Fores (Barni Ducati) completed the fourth row.

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