Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team ZX-10R) continued his pre-season form and broke the Phillip Island lap record on his way to setting the fastest time in SuperPole earlier today. The Yorkshireman will head the front row of the grid for the first World SuperBike race of the season with Davide Giugliano ( Racing – Ducati 1199 Panigale R) and current world champion Jonathan Rea on the second Kawasaki Racing Team ZX-10R alongside him.

Alex Lowes (PATA Yamaha Official WSBK Team YZF R1) and Jordi Torres (Althea BMW Racing Team S1000RR) topped the SuperPole 1 time sheets and joined their team mates in SuperPole 2.

Giugliano was fastest for most of the first half of the Superpole 2 session, with the key challenge coming from Yamaha’s Guintoli once again. With 5 minutes remaining, Markus Reiterberger and Chaz Davies were the first riders to show their hand and leave the pits for the final showdown, with Davies taking the top spot on his first flier. The fast laps then came quick and fast, with Sykes and Rea bringing a later challenge for Kawasaki and the Yorkshireman breaking the lap record. His lap for pole, a 1’30.020, topped the session by 0.078 seconds above Ducati rider Giugliano and gave reigning Champions Kawasaki their first taste of glory in 2016. After a Friday that saw Ducati slower out the blocks than expected, the first row position for Giugliano and small margin of difference makes for fantastic reading for fans of the Italian marque, showing they pose a real threat to the title once again.

Rea ended the session only a tenth and a half down on the pole position time of teammate Sykes and just ahead of both the Yamaha riders. The Japanese manufacturer’s first qualifying session on their return to WorldSBK with the YZF R1 saw them qualify in 4th and 5th, with Lowes closing the gap significantly to his teammate Guintoli. Completing the second row was Friday Superstar Flying Dutchman Michael Van Der Mark, who pipped teammate and MotoGP Legend Nicky Hayden to 6th. Hayden will consequently begin his first WorldSBK races from 7th, ahead of reigning STK1000 Champion Lorenzo Savadori who proved the fastest Aprilia in 8th.

Chaz Davies, who was at times frustrated yesterday with his pace, will begin the first Round of 2016 from 9th position, with the Welshman looking to move up the field after challenging spectacularly for the victory last year at Phillip Island and coming home second in the title fight in 2015.

Leon Camier (MV Augusta Reparto Corse 1000 F4) heads the fourth row of the grid ahead of the BMWs of Markus Reiterberger and Jordi Torres who were the final names in Superpole 2. Impressive rookie Reiterberger will begin his first race from 11th  while Jordi Torres, riding through the injury sustained in pre-season testing, will line up in 12th.

The lights will go out for the first WorldSBK race of the new era later today as the flag drops… and the talking stops!