Michael Laverty was the fastest man in all three parts of Saturday's qualifying session at Silverstone, securing pole position for Sunday's opening race.
The Northern Irishman left Donington Park a disappointed man after a collision with Shane Byrne left him 36 points off the championship lead but showed he is not giving up on the Showdown just yet with a sensational performance.
“That incident at Donington Park was frustrating and put me on the back foot but now with pole we'll be getting stuck in and pushing for wins and points”, he commented. “We will not be giving up on the title until the very end. The bike is working well, the little changes we made, fine tuning it a little, made it comfortable and it is great to be on pole again.”
Despite taking pole for the World Superbike meeting at Silverstone earlier in the summer, John Hopkins had to settle for second. The American remains in discomfort after the finger injury he sustained at Brno but is focusing solely on defending his championship lead tomorrow.
“I will be up there and can rise to the challenge. Towards the end of qualifying the adrenalin rush jolted in and it will in the races. I thought I had done enough to get pole but then Michael put in a very good lap.”
Josh Brookes, currently ranked fifth among the title challengers, managed to get the Relentless Suzuki onto the front row in third while Michael Rutter did exceptionally well to qualify fourth on his return from injury.
Tommy Hill will be intent on overturning Hopkins' three point championship lead from fifth on the grid but will have to contend with his Crescent Suzuki teammate Jon Kirkham who will start alongside in sixth.
Martin Jessopp capped off an impressive afternoon for Rapid Solicitors-Bathams Ducati in seventh while Peter Hickman beat EVO leader Graeme Gowland to eighth, finishing as the quickest Honda rider in the process.
All of this means that the title hopefuls from HM Plant Honda will start in unfamiliar surroundings back on row four. Both riders struggled with vibration problems with Shane Byrne ending up 13th and Ryuichi Kiyonari 16th.