Josh Brookes (above) was instantly back in the BSB groove today following a fortnight at the Isle of Man TT, taking second place in British Superbike qualifying at Knockhill in Scotland.
The Tyco Suzuki rider narrowly missed-out on pole position by just 100th-of-a-second to title rival Shane Byrne in the third and final qualifying session, but will start tomorrow’s opening round four race from the front row in second place ahead of Alex Lowes (Samsung Honda).
Josh Brookes said: “People were quick to say that it would take me a while to get back up to speed on the short circuits after the TT and I sort of resented that. If you can do 10 years of what I’ve been doing, and then go to the roads and go as quick as I did, then you should be able to turn around and go back to the circuits and be on the pace quick enough – like I have done.
“I’ve done my personal best round here in qualifying and the bike is working well. I’ve done quite a few quick laps and a couple at the peak time so I’m happy enough with that. The qualifying is more about the front row than pole position, as it’s really difficult to pass around here, so we are in a good position to fight it out in race one.”
In Q1 Brookes set the precedent as the Tyco Suzuki rider topped the times from Lowes and Byrne as the leading trio shifted between the leading positions. Meawhile the Milwaukee Yamaha team’s woes continued as Josh Waters was eliminated after Q1 and will start 19th on the grid, whilst a last lap push from James Ellison saw him move into the safe zone in the dying seconds of the first session.
In Q2 Jon Kirkham heads the second row for Buildbase BMW with Ryuichi Kiyonari starting from fifth; his best qualifying result of the season so far. Brookes’ team-mate, PJ Jacobsen completes row two from James Westmoreland and the improving Farmer. Chris Walker was ninth for Quattro Plant Kawasaki whilst Lloyds British GBmoto Honda worked hard to get Peter Hickman back on track to set a time for tenth place.
MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship, Knockhill, Datatag Extreme Qualifying
1. Shane Byrne (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki) 48.333s
2. Josh Brookes (Tyco Suzuki) +0.010s
3. Alex Lowes (Samsung Honda) +0.316s
4. Jon Kirkham (Buildbase BMW) +0.650s
5. Ryuichi Kiyonari (Samsung Honda) +0.653s
6. PJ Jacobsen (Tyco Suzuki) +0.735s
7. James Westmoreland (Buildbase BMW) +0.838s
8. Keith Farmer (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki) +0.871s
9. Chris Walker (Quattro Plant Kawasaki) +0.987s
10. Peter Hickman (Lloyds British GBmoto Honda) +1.380s