Imola WSBK: Rea beats Sykes to pole, Davies crashes

Jonathan Rea eased to his second World Superbike pole of the year ahead of Kawasaki teammate Tom Sykes, while Chaz Davies recovered to third at Imola after an early crash.

Imola WSBK: Rea beats Sykes to pole, Davies crashes
Jonathan Rea, Kawasaki Racing
Jonathan Rea, Kawasaki Racing
Jonathan Rea, Kawasaki Racing
Marco Melandri, Racing-Ducati SBK Team
Michael van der Mark, Pata Yamaha
Chaz Davies, Racing-Ducati SBK Team
Eugene Laverty, Milwaukee Aprilia

Final practice pacesetter Rea went to the top straight away on his first race tyre lap in the second Superpole session with a 1m47.078s, though was quickly deposed by Sykes with a 1m46.540s. 

However, Sykes was knocked back to 12th after his lap was cancelled for exceeding track limits at the final chicane, while Rea returned to the top of the pile with a 1m46.418s. 

Ducati's Marco Melandri set the initial pace on the qualifying tyre in the closing stages of SP2 with a 1m46.227s, with Sykes taking over from the Italian with just seconds remaining with a 1m46.109s. 

But Sykes would be denied the opportunity to set the all-time WSBK pole record as Rea went 0.312 seconds clear of his teammate to claim his first pole at Imola since 2014.

Davies crashed at the final corner early in SP2, but was able to re-join the session and get his Panigale back to pitlane for repairs, before going on to secure his first front row of the season on his qualifying tyre lap. 

Melandri heads row two on the sister works Ducati, the Italian edging ahead of Ducati stablemate Xavi Fores on the Barni bike and Aprilia's Eugene Laverty, who makes his return to action this weekend having been out since his horror Thailand crash in March. 

Jordi Torres will start seventh on the MV Agusta, the Spaniard pipping Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Ducati) and the sister Aprilia of Lorenzo Savadori, while Yamaha's Alex Lowes completed the top 10.

Puccetti Kawasaki wildcard Leon Haslam and the second Yamaha of Michael van der Mark completed the Superpole 2 order.

Loris Baz will line up 13th for his first race at Imola in four years, while Toprak Razgatlioglu was set to graduate to SP2 but will start 14th instead after having his final lap cancelled for cut the final chicane.

Ten Kate Honda stand-in Jason O'Halloran – who is replacing the injured Leon Camier this weekend –  will start his debut WSBK race from 18th and ahead of teammate Jake Gagne.

Qualifying results:

1 1 united_kingdom Jonathan Rea  Kawasaki 1'45.797  
2 66 united_kingdom Tom Sykes  Kawasaki 1'46.109 0.312
3 7 united_kingdom Chaz Davies  Ducati 1'46.162 0.365
4 33 italy Marco Melandri  Ducati 1'46.227 0.430
5 12 spain Xavi Fores  Ducati 1'46.689 0.892
6 50 ireland Eugene Laverty  Aprilia 1'46.692 0.895
7 81 spain Jordi Torres  MV Agusta 1'46.820 1.023
8 21 italy  Michael Ruben Rinaldi  Ducati 1'46.853 1.056
9 32 italy Lorenzo Savadori  Aprilia 1'46.921 1.124
10 22 united_kingdom Alex Lowes  Yamaha 1'47.115 1.318
11 91 united_kingdom Leon Haslam  Kawasaki 1'47.547 1.750
12 60 netherlands Michael van der Mark  Yamaha 1'47.710 1.913
13 76 france Loris Baz  BMW 1'47.776 1.979
14 54 turkey Toprak Razgatlioglu  Kawasaki 1'48.020 2.223
15 40 spain Roman Ramos  Kawasaki 1'48.086 2.289
16 36 argentina Leandro Mercado  Kawasaki 1'48.138 2.341
17 99 united_states PJ Jacobsen  Honda 1'48.313 2.516
18 20 australia  Jason O'Halloran  Honda 1'48.411 2.614
19 45 united_states Jake Gagne  Honda 1'48.518 2.721
20 37 czech_republic Ondrej Jezek  Yamaha 1'48.606 2.809
21 68 colombia Yonny Hernandez  Kawasaki 1'48.958 3.161
22 5 russia Vladimir Leonov  Kawasaki 1'50.062 4.265
Imola WSBK: Davies, Rea set identical times in practice
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