Sykes claims crucial pole
Kawasaki rider Tom Sykes kept up his slim hopes of winning the World Superbike Championship by securing pole position for the final round in Magny-Cours.
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The Briton is 30.5 points behind championship leader Max Biaggi as he looks to win his maiden World Superbike crown, but has been among the fastest riders all weekend and secured pole with a time of one minute 36.950 seconds.
Biaggi, who has never finished lower than sixth at Magny-Cours, had a troublesome qualifying and will start from 10th for Aprilia after failing to make it through to Superpole 3, although the Italian will remain confident he can pick up his second title.
BMW's Marco Melandri is the only other rider who can win the title but he is even further behind Biaggi in the standings and managed to qualify only fourth.
Carlos Checa will start from second for Ducati while Biaggi's team-mate Eugene Laverty is third.