The British Superbike grid rolled into round seven at Thruxton, the fastest circuit on the calendar.
Before qualifying even began, Luke Mossey was ruled out of the weekend due to broken vertebrae, sustained in a crash during Free Practice 3. This round was crucial for Mossey’s championship bid, as he only sits two points ahead of his team mate in the overall standings.
A lot of big names lost out in Q1, including Michael Laverty, James Ellison, Michael Dunlop, Lee Jackson and Glenn Irwin, who struggled with engine troubles and stated that he still wasn’t up to full fitness. Michael Rutter made his British Superbike return on the Bathams BMW, and took it to a seriously impressive tenth place.
In Q2, it was a scrabble for a top nine spot. Honda Racing’s Dan Linfoot shot to the top of the time sheets, with a time well under the outright lap record which was set by Josh Brookes in 2015. In fact, the top eight in Q2 were all under Brookes’ 1:14.884. Linfoot’s Honda team mate Jason O’Halloran almost lost out on a Superpole slot, but a last ditch attempt saw him jump into eighth position, knocking Bradley Ray out of the top nine.
Out after Q2: Bradley Ray, Jakub Smrz, Michael Rutter, James Westmoreland, Sylvain Guintoli, Martin Jessopp, Tommy Bridewell, Andy Reid and Taylor Mackenzie.
Superpole is a rarely seen event in BSB, purely because the weather never usually allows for it. But it was dry down at Thruxton today, and the race organisers took full advantage by setting up a Superpole session.
John Hopkins was first out, and he set a respectable 1:15.670. Unfortunately for Hopkins, every rider that came out shaved seconds off his original time, leaving him out to dry. Championship leader Shane Byrne was visibly annoyed with his lap time when he returned to victory circle. His qualifying session was made even worse when he was hit with a £250 fine for being nineteen seconds late out of pit lane.
JG Speedfit Kawasaki’s luck didn’t continue into Superpole, as Haslam clipped the curb and lost the front, crashing out of his fast lap. He will start from ninth on the grid tomorrow – not ideal for any of the championship contenders as Thruxton takes so much out of the tyres. A lot of Haslam’s tyre life will be used trying to break through the grid in the races tomorrow.
Jake Dixon took an incredible pole position, from Josh Brookes and Peter Hickman.
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