For the first time in three years, Kawasaki is on pole in World Superbike thanks to a fast lap by Brit Tom Sykes who took his first ever pole on a partially wet Imola circuit.The green team hadn't been on pole in World Superbike since 2007, when Fonsi Nieto laid down a flyer before the rain hit the Laustizring in Germany. Now, three years on, Sykes will start the penultimate round of the championship from the pole after a narrow victory in Superpole 3.Sykes wasn't the natural choice for the pole. He'd been ninth in Superpole 1, which was led by Yamaha Sterilgarda's Cal Crutchlow. He improved to third in Superpole 2 behind DFX Corse's Lorenzo Lanzi and BMW's Troy Corser, while Crutchlow and several other high profile riders got knocked out.Sykes was on fire in Superpole 3, lapping 2.7 secs. faster than he had all day. His lap of 2:07.341 mins. around the 3.07-mile Enzo e Dino Ferrari Circuit was the benchmark that no one could touch. Jakub Smrz (Team PATA B&G Racing Aprilia) came the closest, saving his best for the very end when he came within .051 sec. of Sykes.So Sykes had his first pole and Smrz was second. Title hopeful Leon Haslam (Team Suzuki Alstare) was nearly a second back in third and just in front of Luca Scassa, who put the Supersonic Racing Team at the end of the first row.Superpole 2 leader Lorenzo Lanzi (DFX Corse Ducati) will start from the second row pole ahead of BMW's Troy Corser. Corser's final lap elevated him to sixth. Then came points leader Max Biaggi (Alitalia Aprilia) and BMW's Ruben Xaus.Althea Racing's Carlos Checa (Ducati), who didn't make it out of Superpole 2, qualified ninth in front of Ducati Xerox's Michel Fabrizio. Hannspree Ten Kate Honda's Max Neukirchner was 11th ahead of Yamaha Sterilgarda's Cal Crutchlow. James Toseland, Crutchlow's teammate, didn't escape from Superpole 1. Neither did Team Pedercini Kawasaki's Roger Lee Hayden.Superpole:

1. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) 2:07.341

2. Jakub Smrz (Aprilia) 2:07.392

3. Leon Haslam (Suzuki) 2:08.273

4. Luca Scassa (Ducati) 2:08.427

5. Lorenzo Lanzi (Ducati) 2:08.490

6. Troy Corser (BMW) 2:09.842

7. Max Biaggi (Aprilia) 2:09.842

8. Ruben Xaus (BMW) 2:10.482

9. Carlos Checa (Ducati) 2:11.117

10. Michel Fabrizio (Ducati) 2:11.130

World Superbike Headlines

By Cycle News Staff

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