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Nicky Hayden has finished the 17-lap, penultimate race of the 2016 FIM Superbike World Championship in fifth place, after securing an excellent second spot on the grid in Superpole. Under the floodlights of Qatar’s #losail International Circuit, Hayden’s Honda #worldsbk team mate Michael van der Mark was ninth after starting from the third row and experiencing a difficult opening lap of the encounter.
Hayden got a great launch off the front row the grid and maintained his position entering turn one, before dropping down one place in the following change of direction. The experienced American rider held on to third place until the start of lap eight, when he was passed by Sylvain Guintoli at the end of the main straight. Hayden did all he could to stay with the Frenchman but as the laps went by, he gradually lost ground and found himself under pressure from Sykes. Hayden was unable to defend his position as he crossed the line fifth, only 0.160s away from his rival.
Van der Mark did not enjoy the best of starts from ninth place and dropped all the way down to 17th on the opening lap. The young Dutchman was able to make up some ground in the early part of the race and – by lap 7 – he was already back to ninth. Van der Mark kept a consistent rhythm throughout the remaining laps and kept his position at the flag.
The final encounter of the World Superbike season will get underway tomorrow at 21:00 local time (GMT +3).
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