Byrne edges out Brookes to take Brands Hatch pole

Shane Byrne will start from pole position for the third consecutive race at Brand Hatch tomorrow after an exciting finish to today’s Datatag Extreme Qualifying session.

Josh Brookes looked like he was about to steal pole position away from the reigning champion in the final moments of Q3, but ended up losing out to Byrne’s 1:25.331 by just +0.001s.

Both men broke the existing lap record, set by Brookes, as they swapped positions throughout each part of the qualifying session.

Michael Laverty will join them on the front-row of the grid after putting in the best qualifying performance of the season, continuing his good form after impressing on his return to MotoGP in Germany last weekend.

Arguably the star rider of the day was Richard Cooper, who put his Anvil Hire Tag Racing Kawasaki fourth on the grid. Cooper’s previous best qualifying result was 13th at Snetterton which means that the Nottingham rider deserves plenty of credit for his efforts today.

Cooperman will be joined by Stuart Easton (5th) and James Ellison (6th) on the second-row. Ellison will be hoping for a good start tomorrow as he looks to fight back in the championship following a couple of disappointing rounds.

Broc Parkes (7th) also achieved his highest qualifying position of the year on a circuit that he has enjoyed success on before in British Superbikes. The Australian secured a trio of podium finishes back in 2009 whilst on-board a PBM Kawasaki.

Ryuichi Kiyonari (8th) and the returning John Hopkins (9th) were next up, with Luke Mossey rounding out the top 10 on his Quattro Plant Kawasaki.

A few noticeable names missed out on the top 10 shootout, including Tommy Bridewell (11th) and Jason O’Halloran (12th).

O’Halloran’s Honda teammate Dan Linfoot (23rd) had a day to forget as he bowed out of the session in Q1 on his return to the circuit in-which he broke his wrist earlier on in the season.

Brookes will need to get away well in Race one tomorrow, which is scheduled to get underway at 13:30, if he is to beat Byrne to the chequered flag and take his first victory of the season.

All riders will also have their eyes on setting the fastest lap-time possible as they try to qualify on the front-row for race two – where they can then accept the special ‘King of Brands Challenge’