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.


Qualifying Result:

Pos Rider Bike Team Lap Time
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 1:49.593
18 Simon Andrews (E) Kawasaki 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