Shane Byrne was in a class of his own during qualifying at Cadwell Park, taking pole position by almost a second, but the headlines were dominated by James Ellison who called a halt to his brave attempt at a comeback.
Ellison was eliminated at the first stage of qualifying, finishing 22nd out of 27, and later explained that he was struggling to ride for more than six laps at a time, and felt the sensible decision from a personal and safety perspective was to withdraw.
“After working so hard to get back here, I’m devastated to not be able to race tomorrow. The weekend started really well and I felt quite comfortable in the first session, but unfortunately things have gotten progressively worse from there and not only am I in a lot of pain from my knee but I’m really struggling to change direction on the bike. It’s for that reason we’ve made the decision not to race tomorrow as I can’t risk another injury.”
“Languishing down in 20th isn’t where I should be or where the team should be, so with the Showdown now an unrealistic possibility, I’m going to focus on getting myself fully fit so we can all end the season on a high. I’ll be back trying again a Donington, but I just want to say a massive thank you to all the fans who’ve supported me this weekend – they’ve made a huge difference and I’m just sorry I couldn’t put a show on for them all tomorrow!”
Having recovered from an injury of his own, Byrne was unstoppable and a 1:26.017 saw him clinch pole position. The championship leader was visibly pleased immediately following his lap and none of his rivals would get within 0.904s of him with Ryuichi Kiyonari the nearest challenger in the end.
Tommy Bridewell claimed the last spot on the front row, albeit 1.664s off the pace, but the afternoon unravelled in Q3 for his Milwaukee Yamaha teammate Josh Brookes as a technical problem prevented him from getting out on track in time to set a time. As a result, the Australian will line up tenth with Chris Walker, Peter Hickman and Josh Waters on row two and Jon Kirkham, John Hopkins and Dan Linfoot immediately ahead on row three.