Alex Lowes was the star on a dramatic day at Cadwell Park as the WFR Honda youngster claimed pole for the opening race on Bank Holiday Monday. Tommy Hill stayed safe to qualify second but fellow title challengers Shane Byrne and Noriyuki Haga are out of both races after picking up collarbone injuries.

The track was damp in places for qualifying but Lowes seemed to revel in the conditions, topping all three sessions, and the Lincolnshire youngster is now gearing up to challenge for his first BSB win.

“I was a bit nervous in the damp but to be on pole is really good and I have enjoyed the consistent times. I am buzzing now! The bike is working well and is good enough to win these races so now I have to stay calm and try and get the points and the results for the Showdown.”

Tommy Hill didn’t have the smoothest ride to second on the grid with a near-highside during Q3 but the championship leader is well set tomorrow, especially given the situation of his title rivals.

“I am pleased to be on the front row, but slightly gutted that we couldn’t quite make that pole position. We were on a good lap and then I had a big high-side and I am talking in a high voice now as I saved it but came down on the bike quite hard. I then regrouped but got caught in traffic and that just took the chance away to try and get that pole position. It was disappointing that we couldn’t quite connect it together this afternoon as we know we have the pace but we are where we need to be and we are ready for the races tomorrow.”

Completing the front row will be Jon Kirkham after a welcome return to form for the Samsung Honda rider. Kirkham knocked teammate Michael Laverty off the front row late on with the Ulsterman alongside Karl Harris and Danny Buchan after both put in sensational performances, particularly Buchan on just his second BSB weekend.

Josh Brookes will have work to do in Monday’s opener from twelfth on the grid but Shane Byrne’s crash in practice has ruled him out altogether. His showdown spot is secure though and the man in most peril is Noriyuki Haga with the sixth placed man breaking his collarbone with a crash at Mansfield.