HM Plant Honda were pleased to have turned the tables on Swan Yamaha at Brands Hatch after claiming a 1-2 in Qualifying for the opening race of the 2011 British Superbike Championship.
The Yamahas of Tommy Hill and Michael Laverty had a slight advantage on Saturday but Shane 'Shakey' Byrne lapped at record pace to snatch pole position from teammate Ryuichi Kiyonari, with Laverty and Hill completing the front row.
On his return to the series, Byrne produced a stunning late lap of 45.112s, edging out Kiyonari by 0.080s, and admitted he was pushed to the limit by his teammate.
“That was a great lap. I started Q3 on a used tyre and did a 45.5s lap but then I saw what Kiyo had done and I couldn't believe it, he needs to slow down a bit! I wanted a front row start but then I saw what Kiyo did and just went for it with a new tyre. I went out and did a 45.1s and then I tried to get into the 44s but just couldn't quite get there. That was a great session though and all credit to the HM Plant Honda team.”
Reigning BSB Champion Kiyonari had held pole position until the dying minutes of Q3 but conceded Byrne was too quick in qualifying trim, but the Japanese rider is hopeful of taking the fight to him in the race.
”That was a hard session as everyone was faster than before, but I pushed as hard as I could and was hoping for the pole position. I knew Shakey was going to be fast as we have been pushing each other all weekend. I need to find some more time tomorrow in warm up as it is so close on the circuit but I am feeling happy and want to get on the podium tomorrow for HM Plant Honda.”
Jason O'Halloran completed a perfect day for HM Plant Honda as he took pole position for the National Superstock 1000 race and Team Manager Havier Beltran believed the team had sent out a message to their rivals in both classes.
“Today's qualifying session was a fantastic start to our season; you can't ask for more than the top two places on the grid in Superbike and then the pole position in the Superstock class. I think today has shown that all three riders have the potential to challenge for the titles, and it is still early days, but we couldn’t have asked for a better day. It has also shown the strength of the Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade as it has proved to be the fastest bike on track in two classes today. We know the Indy circuit will bring highs and lows as it always does, but so far it has all come together for the HM Plant Honda team and we are looking forward to race day.”