Byrne smashes circuit record to take pole at Snetterton


Byrne Takes Pole at Snetterton
Shane Byrne smashed the circuit record at Snetterton to take pole (Credit:Jon Jessop Photography)

Shane Byrne will start on pole position at Snetterton after putting in a scintillating performance in qualifying – smashing the circuits record in the process.

Byrne set the pace throughout the day but saved his best to last as he smashed the previous circuit record by well over a second, putting in a lap-time of 1:46:024.

James Ellison will line-up alongside Byrne on the front-row, with the McAMS Yamaha rider also getting into the 1m:46s. The pair will be joined on the front-row by 2016 Snetterton race winner Jason O’Halloran.

The returning Leon Haslam heads-up row two after battling through the pain caused by his free practice crash at Knockhill. Jake Dixon lines up alongside Haslam, continuing his impressive form to finish ahead of the series leader Luke Mossey (sixth).

Josh Brookes, Dan Linfoot and Jakub Smrz round-out the front three rows of the grid for tomorrow’s opening race.

Byrne topped Q1 with a lap-time of 1:47.457, which was only +0.142s ahead of Brookes on the Anvil Hire Yamaha machine. The times were certainly close throughout the field, with the top 10 covered by just one second.

Andy Reid crashed out of the opening session on his Tyco BMW debut. Reid has taken the place of Davide Giugliano, who has left the series, but unfortunately he lost control of his machine at the final corner.

Taylor Mackenzie’s day also came to a premature end in Q1, with his Bennetts Suzuki suffering from some form of mechanical issue.

Riders who failed to make it through the opening session of the day included Christian Iddon’s replacement Josh Elliott (20th), Aaron Zanotti (21st) and Shaun Winfield (24th).

On into Q2 and there was further despair for John Hopkins, with the American’s Moto Rapido Ducati pulling up with a technical problem.

More and more grip was becoming available on the circuit with Bradley Ray and Ellison hitting the front with quick mid 1m:47 lap-times. Their times would be swept aside by Byrne, who became the first rider to break into the 1m:46s with a 1:46.863 – just +0.002s slower then the circuit record.

Haslam made it into Superpole in the dying seconds of the session, with championship leader Mossey also only scrapping through in ninth spot.

Notable names who failed to make it out of Q2 included Peter Hickman on the Smiths Racing BMW in 10th, Michael Laverty (13th), Sylvain Guintoli (14th) and Tommy Bridewell in 16th place.

The first rider to hit the track in the Superpole session was Mossey on his Kawasaki machine. The 24-year-old’s lap was relatively smooth, as he set a target time of 1:47.355.

Srmz was next up however the Czech Republic native made a mistake at Wilson’s Chicane and could only manage a 1:48.163.

Haslam was the third rider to take on the challenge of Superpole and he went to the top of the timing sheets with an impressive 1:47.120 lap-time.

Linfoot’s lap got off to a tricky start, with the Honda man lifted out of his seat coming out of Wilson’s Chicane after going in a little wide. He would recover to set a time of  1:48.117, slotting him into third at the time.

His Honda teammate came onto the circuit next and O’Halloran’s great form in Norfolk continued as he went to the top of the timing sheets with a 1:47.106.

Ellison would swiftly take top spot away from the Australian with a record-breaking time of 1:46.561. With the benchmark set even higher Brookes struggled to match the front runners and crossed the line with a 1:47.510 to take fifth, with only two riders remaining.

Dixon headed out onto the circuit next and the double race winner from Knockhill put in a reasonable lap-time of 1:47.351 to slot into fourth place.

All eyes were now on Byrne and the weekend’s pacesetter did not disappoint, smashing the circuit record to take pole position with a 1:46.024.