Jonathan Rea will start Sunday’s fifth round of the World Superbike Championship on the front row after qualifying in third place at Imola in Italy.
The Kawasaki rider, who leads Aprilia’s Leon Haslam in the series by 50 points after the first four rounds, finished behind the returning Davide Giugliano (Ducati) and team-mate Tom Sykes to complete row one at the historic Italian track.
Rea, whose fastest lap of 1m 46.382s was 0.121s behind Giugliano’s pole time, said: “My best Superpole lap was good but not perfect. I made a little mistake in the first sectors and that carried on through for a few corners.
“I was happy with my lap in general, especially the second half, which I felt was really good and strong. To qualify on the outside of row one is a little bit of a handicap as you almost start on a corner.
“The Ninja ZX-10R has been giving me some good starts recently, so I hope I can make a clean getaway and settle into my pace,” he added.
“Hopefully I can stay in the 1’47s in the races because in the sessions today that is where I have been able to put my bike, but there are some other strong guys in there as well.
“It will be a tough 19-laps in each race and the temperatures are high. I think in the afternoon, when the temperature is hotter, our bike works a bit better.”
Chaz Davies (Ducati) and Red Devils Aprilia pair Haslam and Jordi Torres complete the second row.
Rea has won six of the first eight races and twice finished as the runner-up to open a comfortable lead at the top of the points standings after making a seamless transition to his new Kawasaki team.