Tom Sykes will sit on pole position for the opening round of the World Superbike Championship in Australia after a tight Superpole 2 session.

The Kawasaki rider recorded a 1:30.099 on the Phillip Island circuit, pipping Aprilia’s Eugene Laverty by just over a quarter of a second after he went round in 1:30.339.

It is his 43rd career pole, equalling the record set by Troy Corser.

Third on the grid will be Marco Melandri for Ducati, the Italian recording a 1:30.660, two-tenths faster than Brit Alex Lowes for Yamaha with 1:30.767.

Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki), who was on pole and won at the Victoria circuit last year will start in sixth after a lap of 1:31.056, behind fellow Brit Chaz Davies (Ducati).

Xavi Fores (Ducati), Michael van der Mark (Yamaha) and Toprak Razgatlioglu (Kawasaki) will start seventh, eighth and ninth respectively.

Meanwhile Lorenzo Savadori (Aprilia), Leon Camier (Honda) and Jordi Torres (Agusta) did not set times in the Superpole 2 session and fill out the top 12 on the grid.