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Pole position and more to come from Sykes

TOM SYKES emphatically took his first pole position for Rizla Suzuki at the sixth round of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship at Mallory Park today and has vowed he can go even faster.

The Yorkshire ace had been in contention during every practice session and put on a domineering performance in qualification. He led from the start and even a mid-session switch to his spare bike didnt upset his composure as he continued to go faster, securing pole position with only moments left on the clock.

Rizla Suzukis double Japanese Superbike Champion Atsushi Watanabe showed an impressive turn of pace on his first visit to the twisty and short 1.41-mile Leicestershire circuit, ending up 12th on the grid and less than three-quarters of a second away from his team mate in pole position.

Superbike racing starts at 1315 tomorrow, Sunday June 29th, at Mallory Park near Leicester. It will be shown live on Eurosport and then a highlights programme will feature on Channel 4 at 0120 on Tuesday July 1st.

I came round with two minutes to go in qualifying and my dash told me I recorded a 56.2s lap. I was so close to pole I decided to get my head down and go for it. I had to try hard but a pole is a pole and I am delighted.

I could have gone even quicker, a 55-second lap was possible but my spare bike was backing in and we didnt have time to dial in new settings so I wasnt quite able to go as fast as I wanted. The good news is that we can go faster with my number one Rizla Suzuki and thatll be ready for tomorrow, so bring on the racing. Thank you to my Rizla Suzuki team for all its support and help, my GSX-R1000 is fantastic.

Mallory Park is very short, twisty and physical track. I strange but like it. I am disappointed with 12th place but I feel maybe this is not so bad given my first visit here.

We still make small changes to my Rizla Suzuki for better feel and performance and maybe just little bit more will mean I can compete well in the races. It will not be easy but I forward look to top 10 results!

Jack Valentine, Rizla Suzuki Team Manager:
That was simply awesome; there is no other way to describe it. Tom was mega on his spare bike and took pole position emphatically. He would have been even further ahead of the field if his number one bike had been available but an intermittent fault meant it wasnt available although it will be tomorrow when Rizla Suzuki and Tom Sykes will be competing for a long over-due victory.

Atsu has impressed this weekend. He has brought a more aggressive and determined approach to his riding and at a circuit that was always going to be difficult to learn he is ahead of a lot of good riders with much more circuit experience. He is starting to show his teeth and will be determined to get into the top 10 tomorrow.

Well done to the entire Rizla Suzuki team for all of their hard work. Well done also to Michael Laverty who qualified in second and that makes it a one-two on the grid for Suzuki.

Qualifying results
2: Michael Laverty (Suzuki) +0.104
3: Shane Byrne (Ducati) +0.122
4: Cal Crutchlow (Honda) +0.130
5: Leon Haslam (Honda) +0.229
6: Michael Rutter (Ducati) +0.331
7: Karl Harris (Yamaha) +0.430
8: Tristan Palmer (Honda) +0.489
9: John Laverty (Ducati) +0.529
10: Billy McConnell (Kawasaki) +0.530