John Hopkins put in a blistering lap to secure the first ever British Superbike pole position on the Snetterton 300 circuit, and in doing so, became the first American ever to take pole in the championship's history.
The former MotoGP star got the better of practice pacesetter Tommy Hill in Q3 to claim the top spot by over half a second with Jon Kirkham completing a fantastic day for Crescent Suzuki with third place. There will actually be three GSX-R1000s on the front row, with Josh Brookes grabbing fourth for the Relentless Suzuki squad.
But Hopkins was untouchable when it mattered and is hoping to celebrate Independence Day in the United States a day early, by winning both of tomorrow's 17 lap races.
“It is great to have pole but it is the races that count and thanks to the hard work of my team I have a good race pace. No American has had a pole start before me, and no American has taken a double win in the series so that is what I am aiming for in these races.”
“I am enjoying this circuit more than any other so far. We had some niggling problems this morning but the team swapped the engines and did a great job giving me a great bike to go out there and do my job.”
Hopkins' cause has been helped further by the relative struggles of championship leader Shane 'Shakey' Byrne, who could only manage sixth, sandwiched between the Motorpoint Yamahas of Loris Baz and James Westmoreland. The second HM Plant Honda of Ryuichi Kiyonari will also start from the second row in eighth.
Chris Walker got the Pr1mo Kawasaki into the top ten, as did Alex Lowes on the MSS Colchester machine, but his teammate Gary Mason missed out on the top ten shootout, with Kiyonari pipping him to tenth in Q2 by 0.041s.
Michael Laverty was the shock casualty in Q2, with the second Swan Yamaha rider down in 12th, while Michael Rutter was the fastest Ducati in a disappointing 14th, two places ahead of teammate Martin Jessopp.
Graeme Gowland will start between the Rapid Solicitors-Bathams Ducatis in 15th after taking pole position in the EVO class.
|1||John Hopkins||Suzuki||Samsung Crescent Racing||1:47.451|
|2||Tommy Hill||Yamaha||Swan Yamaha||1:47.996|
|3||Jon Kirkham||Suzuki||Samsung Crescent Racing||1:48.320|
|4||Josh Brookes||Suzuki||Relentless Suzuki by TAS||1:48.457|
|5||Loris Baz||Yamaha||Motorpoint Yamaha||1:48.814|
|6||Shane Byrne||Honda||HM Plant Honda||1:48.928|
|7||James Westmoreland||Yamaha||Motorpoint Yamaha||1:49.023|
|8||Ryuichi Kiyonari||Honda||HM Plant Honda||1:49.156|
|9||Chris Walker||Kawasaki||Pr1mo Racing||1:49.225|
|10||Alex Lowes||Kawasaki||MSS Colchester Kawasaki||1:49.768|
|Eliminated in Q2|
|11||Gary Mason||Kawasaki||MSS Colchester Kawasaki||1:48.744|
|12||Michael Laverty||Yamaha||Swan Yamaha||1:48.761|
|13||Peter Hickman||Honda||Tyco Honda||1:48.881|
|14||Michael Rutter||Ducati||Rapid Solicitors-Bathams Ducati||1:48.931|
|15||Graeme Gowland (E)||Honda||Team WFR||1:49.267|
|16||Martin Jessopp||Ducati||Rapid Solicitors-Bathams Ducati||1:49.526|
|17||Dan Linfoot||Honda||Team Sorrymate.com||1:49.593|
|18||Simon Andrews (E)||Kawasaki||Buy-Force.com PR Racing Kawasaki||1:49.763|
|19||Steve Brogan||Honda||Jentin Racing Honda||1:50.129|
|20||Ian Lowry||BMW||Buildbase BMW Motorrad||1:50.139|
|Eliminated in Q1|
|21||Glen Richards (E)||Honda||Team WFR||1:50.325|
|22||Jake Zemke (E)||Honda||Team WFR||1:50.781|
|23||Craig Fitzpatrick (E)||Honda||Close Print Finance/BLDS||1:51.193|
|24||Patric Muff (E)||Honda||Tyco Honda||1:51.282|
|25||John Laverty||BMW||Buildbase BMW Motorrad||1:51.484|
|26||Tom Tunstall (E)||BMW||Doodson Motorsport||1:51.486|
|27||James Hillier (E)||Kawasaki||Bournemouth Kawasaki Racing||1:51.541|
|28||Barry Burrell (E)||BMW||Buildbase BMW Motorrad||1:51.703|
|29||Aaron Zanotti (E)||BMW||Quattro Plant Spike Racing||1:51.948|
|30||Hudson Kennaugh (E)||Aprilia||Splitlath Motorsport||1:51.988|
|31||Joshua Day (E)||Kawasaki||AIR Racing Two Brothers Kawasaki||1:52.636|
|32||Dan Kneen (E)||Kawasaki||Marks Bloom Racing||1:54.551|
|33||Mark Miller||Aprilia||Splitlath Motorsport||1:55.432|
|34||Matteo Mossa (E)||Suzuki||777RR Motorsport||1:56.865|
|35||Scott Smart (E)||Ducati||Moto Rapido Ducati||No Time|