Alex Lowes (above) claimed his second consecutive Assen pole position in the first round of the MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship Showdown at the Dutch circuit as the Samsung Honda rider fired ahead of standings leader Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne.
Lowes had set the precedent across free practice and as his rivals all upped their pace it wasn’t enough to keep him from the top spot, although Byrne pushed him all the way to set his first lap of the weekend 1m:36s barrier. The leading two Title Fighters locked out the first two grid positions but a stunning lap from Tommy Bridewell on his first qualifying performance with Milwaukee Yamaha saw him claim his first front row start of the season, edging out team-mate James Ellison who heads row two of the grid.
Padgetts Honda had their best qualifying performance of the season as Jakub Smrz set the fifth fastest time to break the Title Fighters as Australian Josh Brookes improved his pace but could only complete row two in sixth.
Alex Lowes: “We have worked so hard here all weekend and I have felt pretty good. It is a track that the Honda works well at generally and it seems to be working well for us. It is down to me now to put in two good results and try and beat these boys. The track feels better today and I am pretty confident and will give one hundred percent and won’t give up. It’s the Showdown so everyone will be doing everything they can now.”
Tommy Bridewell: “It feels great to be on the front row but it hasn’t been an easy weekend to be honest because I could have done without crashing first time out yesterday. The team have beared with me this weekend so I need to thank them for that; I knew we could then get it sorted come race day. It was unexpected to be on the front row; the Milwaukee Yamaha is a phenomenal package but it is different to what I have been used to this season so I was unsure how long it would take me to get used to it.”
Josh Brookes: “We obviously want to be on the front row and a bit closer to that pole position pace, the second row isn’t a disaster, although it was frustrating not to be able to match my Q2 time in Q3. We’ve made some changes this weekend from the direction we have been taking at the previous couple of rounds, so I’m hoping they will be the way forward in tomorrow’s opening race where we have to realistically be looking for the win.”
Ryuichi Kiyonari was the fifth of the Title Fighters as he qualified seventh on the second of the Samsung Hondas ahead of James Westmoreland on the Buildbase BMW. Dan Linfoot was the fastest of the Lloyds British GBmoto Hondas in ninth as he moved ahead of Jon Kirkham who completes the top ten. It was dissapointment for PJ Jacobsen who was unable to start Q2 with a technical problem despite having the potential to challenge for the first two rows of the grid.
MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship, Assen
Datatag Extreme qualifying:
Alex Lowes (Samsung Honda) 1m:36.261s
Shane Byrne (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki) +0.377s
Tommy Bridewell (Milwaukee Yamaha) +0.496s
James Ellison (Milwaukee Yamaha) +0.959s
Jakub Smrz (Padgetts Honda) +1.075s
Josh Brookes (Tyco Suzuki) +1.462s
Ryuichi Kiyonari (Samsung Honda) +1.844s
James Westmoreland (Buildbase BMW) +2.046s
Dan Linfoot (Lloyds British GBmoto Honda) +2.130s
Jon Kirkham (Buildbase BMW) +2.144s