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WORLD SUPERBIKES

Sykes equals Corser's Supoerpole record of 43 at Phillip Island

Tom Sykes has drawn level with Troy Corser on the all-time World Superbike pole position record with his 43rd career pole coming at the 2018 season opener at Phillip Island. Sykes made the most of challenging conditions in high winds to steer clear of trouble and beat Eugene Laverty’s provisional pole time with a 1m 30.099s. The Kawasaki rider’s teammate and defending World Superbike champion Jonathan Rea pulled out of his final flying lap which gift-wrapped Sykes a record-equalling pole.

The 2013 World Superbike champion’s 43rd career pole position sees him go level with Corser’s all-time record and marks the British rider’s third career pole at the Australian circuit. With Milwaukee Aprilia's Laverty holding on to second place on the grid for the opening race of 2018, Aruba.it Racing Ducati’s Marco Melandri completes the front row but was over half a second off of Sykes. Alex Lowes made it four different manufacturers inside the top four for Pata Yamaha ahead of 2017 championship runner-up Davies (Aruba.it Racing Ducati) with Rea down in sixth in qualifying.

FP4 timesheet-topper Xavi Fores clinched top independent honours in qualifying with seventh place for Barni Ducati with Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha) and rookie Toprak Razgatlioglu (Puccetti Kawasaki) completing the third row. It was a frustrating Superpole 2 session for Red Bull Honda’s Leon Camier after impressing during the tests and free practice sessions after a heavy fall saw him fail to set a time. The Superpole 2 session was prematurely suspended by a red flag after Milwaukee Aprilia’s Lorenzo Savadori suffered a nasty crash and had to be taken to the medical centre as a precaution. The Italian rider has suffered a fractured left collarbone which has ruled him out of the rest of the 2018 World Superbike opener. Savadori's injury will see Camier promoted to 10th on the grid with MV Agusta’s Jordi Torres in 11th after he also suffered an early fall in Superpole 2.

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