Tommy Hill's sensational recent record at the Knockhill circuit continued as the Swan Yamaha rider took pole position in difficult Scottish weather conditions. Rain had fallen earlier in the day and the track was still partially wet when qualifying got underway but that didn't seem to bother the reigning champion who took pole from Michael Laverty and Josh Brookes.
“It was tricky for everyone and I did chicken out a bit in the second session when there were a few spots of rain and took it a bit steady. It is difficult to know how hard to push and Josh was pushing hard at the end so I knew I just had to bite the screen and go for it to get the lap in. It is always hard to judge but the others were pushing hard and with three to a row here it is important to be on the front row. I am happy but not overly confident that the conditions will stay consistent tomorrow but we will be trying to get the Swan Yamaha back on the podium.”
Hill came under threat from the in-form Laverty in the dying seconds of Q3 but the Samsung Honda rider slid off at the Scotsman corner, leaving him seven hundredths shy in second. The Ulsterman is still feeling confident for tomorrow's races though if he can cut out the errors.
“I was pushing hard, made a few mistakes and tried a bit too hard into the corner – it was a silly little crash, losing the front end but I am confident that in the races I can keep the momentum going.”
Championship leader Brookes blamed mistakes on his flying laps for finishing third while Shane Byrne put the sole Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki on the front row in fourth, teammate Stuart Easton being forced to miss his home round after picking up an infection around the dynamic hip fixator which has remained since his horrendous accident at the 2011 North West 200.
Ian Lowry heads the second row ahead of Noriyuki Haga who recovered from a highside in Q1 to claim sixth on the grid. Graeme Gowland will start race one from seventh ahead of Tommy Bridewell, James Westmoreland and Alastair Seeley who was the slowest man in Q3.
Chris Walker will take part in Sunday's races despite a heavy crash in Friday practice which was initially feared to have left him with two broken heels. Through gritted teeth, 'the Stalker', who lies two points and one place outside the showdown positions, qualified 17th.
2012 MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship
Round 5: Knockhill (Qualifying Result)
|1||Tommy Hill||Yamaha||Swan Yamaha||48.785|
|2||Michael Laverty||Honda||Samsung Honda||+0.068|
|3||Josh Brookes||Suzuki||Tyco Suzuki||+0.329|
|4||Shane Byrne||Kawasaki||Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki||+0.375|
|5||Ian Lowry||Honda||Padgetts Racing||+0.487|
|6||Noriyuki Haga||Yamaha||Swan Yamaha||+0.727|
|7||Graeme Gowland||Honda||Team WFR||+0.745|
|8||Tommy Bridewell||BMW||Supersonic Racing Team||+0.768|
|9||James Westmoreland||Honda||Team WFR||+0.906|
|10||Alastair Seeley||Suzuki||Tyco Suzuki||+0.939|
|Eliminated In Q2|
|11||Alex Lowes||Honda||Team WFR||49.920|
|12||Michael Rutter||Kawasaki||MSS Bathams Kawasaki||49.970|
|13||Barry Burrell||BMW||Buildbase BMW Motorrad||49.974|
|14||Luca Scassa||Honda||Padgetts Racing||49.980|
|15||Jon Kirkham||Honda||Samsung Honda||50.016|
|16||Luke Quigley||Honda||GBmoto Racing||50.291|
|17||Chris Walker||Kawasaki||Pr1mo Bournemouth Kawasaki||50.392|
|18||Patric Muff||BMW||Supersonic Racing Team||50.473|
|19||Tristan Palmer||Honda||GBmoto Racing||50.591|
|20||James Hillier||Kawasaki||Pr1mo Bournemouth Kawasaki||50.985|
|Eliminated In Q1|
|21||Scott Smart||Ducati||Moto Rapido Racing||50.697|
|22||John Laverty||Aprilia||Splitlath Redmond Racing||50.798|
|23||Florian Marino||Aprilia||Splitlath Redmond Racing||50.804|
|24||Peter Hickman||BMW||Buildbase BMW Motorrad||50.911|
|25||Aaron Zanotti||Suzuki||A-Plant Suzuki||50.939|
|26||Freddy Foray||Kawasaki||Quattro Plant Kawasaki||50.973|
|27||Tom Tunstall||Ducati||Jentin Doodson Motorsport||52.045|
|28||Jenny Tinmouth||Honda||Hardinge Sorrymate.com Honda||52.872|
|29||Abdulaziz Binladin||Ducati||Moto Rapido Racing||53.344|