Shane Byrne put in a dominating display in Norfolk this afternoon to take pole position at the Snetterton 300 circuit.
Byrne had all the pressure on him as he was the last rider to take part in the new Superpole-style qualifying session – which finally made its debut thanks to the dry conditions.
The Be Wiser Ducati man rode brilliantly however and posted a lap-time of 1:47.795, which was 0.563s quicker than Leon Haslam in second.
They will be joined on the front-row by Dan Linfoot on the Honda with his teammate, Jason O’Halloran just missing out in fourth place. Peter Hickman and Danny Buchan are next up in fifth and sixth places respectively.
The returning Broc Parkes, who is sitting-in for the injured John Hopkins, impressed to take seventh place ahead of brave Christian Iddon. The Tyco BMW rider is riding through the pain after injuring his hand in the week.
Richard Cooper rounded out the Superpole riders in ninth position on his Buildbase BMW.
Q1 got off to a quiet start as Linfoot and Byrne traded places at the top of the timing sheets. With around 10 minutes left in the session Luke Mossey fell at Oggies, bringing an end to his qualifying hopes.
Some of the notable names that joined him back in the pits at the end of the session included Stuart Easton (20th), James Rispoli (22nd) and Ryuichi Kiyonari in 24th.
Q1 ended with Byrne at the top of the timing sheets with a 1:41.181, just ahead of the JG Speedfit Kawasaki duo of Haslam and Hickman.
As Q2 began it was Tommy Bridewell who put in first fast lap-time, with a 1:49.862, but this was easily beaten by Linfoot and Byrne.
With around five minutes to go Tyco BMW’s Michael Laverty lost the front and crashed going into Agostini
Byrne topped the timing sheets once again with an impressive 1:48.156, ahead of the Honda Racing duo of Linfoot and O’Halloran.
There was a surprise at the end of Q2, with James Ellison only managing to put his Kawasaki in tenth place. He was joined back in the paddock by the likes of Glenn Irwin (11th), Lee Jackson (12th) and Bridewell in 15th.
After a short break we were into the season’s first Superpole session, with Parkes heading out onto the Norfolk circuit first. The Australian held his nerve and put in a strong target lap-time of 1:48.829.
His time was soon beaten by Hickman, who went straight to the top of the timing sheets with a 1:48.697. The Isle of Man TT rider stayed top for a while, with Iddon and Cooper posting 1:49’s on their Superpole laps.
Buchan was also unable to dethrone Hickman as he posted a lap-time of 1:48.825. The Ducati man could have gone fastest had he not have struggled with the front in sector one.
Hickman was finally beaten by none other than his teammate Haslam. The ‘Pocket Rocket’ was on the very limit throughout his lap and posted a blistering time of 1:48.358.
The Honda riders were out next but they were unable to beat Haslam, with Linfoot getting the better of O’Halloran with a 1:48.427.
It all came down to Byrne who was the final rider to take part in Superpole. The four-time champion was behind Haslam after the first sector but put in a superb second sector to help set him up for the final few corners.
Byrne continued to look dominant and crossed the line with an astonishing 1:47.795 – over half-a-second quicker than Haslam.