Sykes secures first BMW WorldSBK pole since 2010, Hickman fourth

Tom Sykes is back on pole position once again as he scores his 49th career Superpole at Donington Park, his first as a BMW WorldSBK rider; Brits star on home soil
Sykes secures first BMW WorldSBK pole since 2010, Hickman fourth

Donington Park WorldSBK - Superpole Results

BMW has qualified on pole position for a World Superbike Championship race for the first time since 2010 as Tom Sykes defied tricky weather conditions at Donington Park to shine through the gloom in Superpole.

The rider to beat in free practice, Sykes nonetheless faced a challenge to live up to high expectations come Superpole as a slick track – the result of earlier intermittent rain - made tyre choice a gamble, making timing to go out on slicks equally as important as outright pace.

However, Sykes chose his moment perfectly, winding up his performance to strike with a 1m 27.619secs lap in the closing seconds to secure another record-breaking 49th pole position.

Indeed, though Sykes maximising his performance over a single lap is certainly not unusual, this particular effort – a full second quicker than his rivals – will rank as one of his best, the 2013 champion securing his first top spot as anything other than a Kawasaki rider.

Significantly, it is also only the second time a BMW has qualified on pole for a WorldSBK race, the first and only other previous occasion coming in 2010 when Troy Corner scored the top spot at Misano.

With Sykes leading a British 1-2-3-4, BMW and Kawasaki fill the leading positions as Jonathan Rea and Leon Haslam complete the front row – the latter doing so for the first time since Australia – and the hugely impressive Peter Hickman grabbing fourth.

Using his experience to shine in the evolving conditions, Hickman – standing in for the unwell Markus Reiterberger on the factory BMW – successfully shook up the order with a brilliant qualifying effort.

Similarly, Loris Baz upset expectations with a run to fifth best and the fastest Yamaha, with championship leader Alvaro Bautista having to rely on a scruffy run to sixth at the very end of the session to keep himself in contention for today’s opening race.

Toprak Razgatlioglu consolidated Kawasaki’s strong session in seventh, ahead of Alex Lowes, who had a fall early on at Goddards to blame for him failing to build momentum on the way to eighth. He did, however, fare better than Pata Yamaha team-mate Michael van der Mark, who was down in 16th after struggling for feeling with his injured wrist.

Marco Melandri and Chaz Davies completed the top ten, ahead of Jordi Torres and Sandro Cortese