Sykes stuns early leader Jonathan Rea to rocket himself to the pole in the dying second of second qualifiyng session at Magny Cours.
After Kawasaki dominated free practice sessions with occupying first two positions, many expected same thing to happen in qualifying as well. They were right, as domination continued, but not in same order, as Tom Sykes pulled an upset in the dying seconds of second qualifying session to score his fifth pole of the season and 47th of his career, setting new track record with 1:35.696.
As mentioned before, Jonathan Rea was second, almost tenth and a half behind his team mate, in what was a truly dominating display of Kawasaki power in France, as third placed Lorenzo Savadori on Milwaukee Aprilia, who also recovered from heavy fall in FP4, finished more than 8 tenths behind to complete the first row.
Behind first three it was Barni Ducati’s Xavi Fores who finished in fourth position, while top Yamaha was Alex Lowes in fifth and just ahead of factory Aruba Ducati man Chaz Davies, who needs to lose less than nine points to Rea this weekend, if he wants to keep his title wishes alive. Aruba junior man Michael Rinaldi was just behind his more experienced team mate in seventh position and at the start of third row, where he was joined by Althea BMW’s Loris Baz and Puccetti Kawasaki’s Toprak Razgatlioglu. Another title hopeful, second Pata Yamaha member Michael van der Mark, finished qualifying in tenth position, where he will be joined by Red Bull Honda of Leon Camier and third Aruba Ducati of Marco Melandri.
Qualifying strategy went completely wrong for second Milwaukee Aprilia of Eugene Laverty as his gamble of not going out in last minutes of qualifying 1 dropped him outside Q2 promotion places, which means he will start race one from 13th position and will be joined on fifth row by second Red Bull Honda of Jake Gagne and MV Agusta’s Jordi Torres.
Orelac Kawasaki’s Leandro Mercado starts from row six, where he will be joined by TripleM Honda of PJ Jacobsen and GoEleven Kawasaki of Roman Ramos. Seventh and last row was filled with Pedercini Kawasaki’s Jeremy Guarnoni, Guandalini Yamaha of Jakub Smrz and Dream Team company Aprilia of French wildcard Matthieu Lussiana, who failed to set the time in the session.
Race 1 starts at 1pm local time.
Featured Image Credit: World SBK