Sykes takes blistering pole at Aragon
Kawasaki's Tom Sykes will start Sunday's Aragon round of the World Superbike Championship from pole position having smashed the track's lap record.
With the sun blazing down on the Aragon circuit, Superpole 1 got under way with Marco Melandri setting the pace with a 1:57.931. The BMW rider was the man to beat in second qualifying earlier in the day when he smashed the lap record.
His reign came to an end with two minutes remaining when Max Biaggi went quickest before he was overhauled by Carlos Checa. The reigning Champion had been down in 11th place before his last-gasp effort.
The four to drop out were Michel Fabrizio, Leon Camier, Loris Baz and Lorenzo Zanetti.
After a first flying lap each in Superpole 2 it was once again Melandri at the top of the timesheets, this time with a 1:57.207. Biaggi was second ahead of Tom Sykes and Leon Haslam.
Melandri and Biaggi retained first and second while Eugene Laverty and Chaz Davies finished third and fourth.
Sylvain Guintoli, Ayrton Badovini, Davide Giugliano and Jakub Smrz failed to make it through to the final session.
That began with Davies first out but he ran wide at the end of the straight and returned to the pits for new tyres. Meanwhile Biaggi went quickest ahead of Laverty, Haslam and Melandri.
But it was all change as Sykes crossed the line with an impressive 1:56.552, seven-tenths up on Biaggi's best. The Kawasaki rider's time proved unbeatable and he will start Sunday's Aragon round from pole position.
Biaggi will line-up in second place ahead of Laverty and Haslam while Melandri narrowly missed out on a front row starting position.
1. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1'56.552
2. Max Biaggi (Aprilia Racing Team) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1'57.260
3. Eugene Laverty (Aprilia Racing Team) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1'57.592
4. Leon Haslam (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) BMW S1000 RR 1'57.710
5. Marco Melandri (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) BMW S1000 RR 1'57.784
6. Jonathan Rea (Honda World Superbike Team) Honda CBR1000RR 1'58.033
7. Carlos Checa (Althea Racing) Ducati 1098R 1'58.243
8. Chaz Davies (ParkinGO MTC Racing) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1'58.485
9. Sylvain Guintoli (Team Effenbert Liberty Racing) Ducati 1098R 1'58.073
10. Ayrton Badovini (BMW Motorrad Italia GoldBet) BMW S1000 RR 1'58.249
11. Davide Giugliano (Althea Racing) Ducati 1098R 1'58.264
12. Jakub Smrz (Liberty Racing Team Effenbert) Ducati 1098R 1'59.160
13. Michel Fabrizio (BMW Motorrad Italia GoldBet) BMW S1000 RR 1'58.534
14. Leon Camier (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) Suzuki GSX-R1000 1'58.660
15. Loris Baz (Kawasaki Racing Team) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1'59.302
16. Lorenzo Zanetti (PATA Racing Team) Ducati 1098R 1'59.549
17. David Salom (Team Pedercini) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1'59.474
18. Hiroshi Aoyama (Honda World Superbike Team) Honda CBR1000RR 1'59.686
19. Niccolò Canepa (Red Devils Roma) Ducati 1098R 1'59.811
20. Maxime Berger (Team Effenbert Liberty Racing) Ducati 1098R 2'00.164
21. John Hopkins (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) Suzuki GSX-R1000 2'00.245
22. Leandro Mercado (Team Pedercini) Kawasaki ZX-10R 2'00.975
23. Norino Brignola (Grillini Progea Superbike Team) BMW S1000 RR 2'03.823