Shane Byrne has made it three pole positions in a row at Thruxton this afternoon, after blitzing the opposition in a scorching session, with a time well under the lap record.
Byrne was a full second under the record achieved by Josh Brookes in Q2 last year after posting a 1:13.8, however during his Superpole lap the Be Wiser Ducati rider made mistakes but still took the pole position ahead of home town hero and Bennetts Suzuki rider Tommy Bridewell.
Bridewell had been running the harder tyre all through free practice, however made the softer option work finishing only two tenths of a second behind series leader Byrne. Honda Racing’s Dan Linfoot continued his run of great form by rounding out the front row, in third place.
“I went into turn two and the bike jumped into a false neutral and it really unsettled me,” said Byrne after the session. “I got it back in gear, got going again and calmed down. I tried to be nice and tidy through the first two sectors. I saw on my dash we were edging back towards to my 1:13.8 time, and I was 0.1 off so thought I’d get it back at the chicane.
“My backshifts weren’t perfect at the chicane and I ran in a little bit deep. But at the end of the day it was still good enough for pole so we’ll take that.”
Just behind Byrne, posting his best qualifying result of the season in second place, Bennetts Suzuki’s Bridewell added: “I’m definitely happy with that, we have been concentrating on the harder tyre all weekend and that was the first time we fully ran the ‘zero’ and I was really surprised at the lap time it gave me. This is a tricky old place where you can get caught up doing outright lap times or you can graft away to try and get the bike working for the race because it’s so crucial here.
“Hopefully we’ve done our homework, it’s going to be really hard but we have to convert the front row into a podium tomorrow.”
Honda Racing’s Dan Linfoot said after achieving third place: “I’ve got to be happy, it’s a front row again and we’re in with a shout of going with Shakey so we’ve got to give the maximum again tomorrow. The setting feels ok, I’m riding ok, I’m just a little bit worried about how long the tyres will last.
“I’m not happy on either tyre to be honest, I feel like I can make the lap time on the zero for 12 laps maximum, and the SC1 leaves blue smoke everywhere, there is no traction.
“I am worried but we are going to try some things overnight for warm up to try and help the longevity of the tyre but we spin that much that we kill the tyre quicker than some of the others.”
Row two will see Luke Mossey ahead of Michael Laverty and Lee Jackson, with Billy McConnell in seventh ahead of the BMWs of Alastair Seeley and Jake Dixon.
The major name to miss out in Q1 was James Ellison, who couldn’t make his way into Q2 after struggling with the setup of his bike. Teammates Leon Haslam and Peter Hickman missed out on Superpole after being knocked out in Q2.