Shane Byrne has a golden opportunity to end Josh Brookes’ six race winning streak after taking pole position during a disastrous qualifying session for the championship leader. The defending champion hasn’t won since Knockhill in July but will fancy his chances later this afternoon, especially with Brookes starting at a major disadvantage.
The problems for Milwaukee Yamaha began to surface on the very first lap of Q1 with Brookes reporting an engine problem on his out lap. The Australian immediately returned the garage while his YZF-R1 was checked and when the garage shutters were pulled down, it became apparent that the diagnosis wasn’t encouraging. Brookes wasn’t seen out on track again and will start race one from 30th position.
Byrne had no such problems and with his chief rival out of play, claimed a comfortable pole position ahead of Tommy Bridewell and James Ellison who should both secure their places in the showdown from the front row. Ellison’s performance is all the more impressive on his comeback from injury.
Danny Buchan starts fourth ahead of Billy McConnell and Luke Mossey who could both force their way into top-six contention after qualifying on the second row, especially with Michael Laverty and Stuart Easton missing out on a place in Q3, 11th and 20th respectively with the latter crashing out.
Jack Kennedy, Christian Iddon and Dan Linfoot, the man most likely to break into the top six, start on row three for this afternoon’s opening race while John Hopkins lines up tenth after a mechanical problem in Q3, a disappointing outcome given his practice pace.