Josh Brookes (above) will start tomorrow’s opening British Superbike race at Snetterton in Norfolk from the front row of the grid after qualifying his Tyco Suzuki GSX-R1000 in third place earlier today. Samsung Honda’s Alex Lowes claimed pole ahead of title rival Shane Byrne.
Josh Brookes: “We have some improvements and changes to make before tomorrow’s first race, and even though I’m not yet lapping as quick as I did here last year, we did make progress during the three qualifying sessions. The front row is where we need to be, so it’s just a matter of starting well and read the race from there. The boys have been giving me a hard time about ‘some rugby match’ that was going on earlier today, but I suppose they should be happy as it’s taken them about 15 years to beat Australia!”
Lowes set the standard in the opening session as Byrne and James Ellison completed the top three, but the Samsung Honda rider continued to push the pace and when it came to the final Q3 session he was able to set the fastest lap of the 2.96-mile circuit to record his third pole start of the season.
Lowes had led the pack into qualifying and after some big changes following yesterday’s sessions he had the edge over standings leader Byrne despite the Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki rider attacking hard for the pole position. Josh Brookes was pushing the Tyco Suzuki but he was forced to settle for third whilst Ryuichi Kiyonari celebrated his first front row start of the season in fourth.
Milwaukee Yamaha’s James Ellison made steps forward to head row two from Chris Walker and Tommy Bridewell, who equalled his best qualifying start of the season for Bathams Honda. Jakub Smrz headed Jon Kirkham who finished ninth fastest despite a technical problem at the end of Q2. James Westmoreland completed the top ten whilst Keith Farmer will be assessed tomorrow ahead of the races to decide whether he will line up on the grid after his crash in free practice three when he suffered a leg injury.
Aussie Josh Waters (Milwaukee Yamaha) will start from 12th position.
MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship, Snetterton, Datatag Extreme qualifying
1. Alex Lowes (Samsung Honda) 1m:48.106s
2. Shane Byrne (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki) +0.387s
3. Josh Brookes (Tyco Suzuki) +0.966s
4. Ryuichi Kiyonari (Samsung Honda) +0.984s
5. James Ellison (Milwaukee Yamaha) +1.177s
6. Chris Walker (Quattro Plant Bournemouth Kawasaki) +1.212s
7. Tommy Bridewell (Bathams Honda) +1.273s
8. Jakub Smrz (Padgetts Honda) +1.307s
9. Jon Kirkham (Buildbase BMW) +1.500s
10. James Westmoreland (Buildbase BMW) +1.547s
11. Pj Jacobsen USA Tyco Suzuki GSX-R1000 1m 50.613s
12. Josh Waters AUS Milwaukee Yamaha YZF-R1 1m 50.453s