Glenn Irwin will start tomorrow’s opening race at Brands Hatch from pole position after putting in a blistering lap to get the better of Josh Brookes.
Irwin got the hammer down early in the final part of qualifying, recording a 1:24.628 on his very first lap. Irwin will be joined on the front-row by Brookes (+0.081s) and Jake Dixon (+0.140s).
Tarran Mackenzie narrowly missed out on the top three in fourth spot, ahead of championship leader Leon Haslam and Luke Mossey on the JG Speedfit Kawasaki.
Christian Iddon heads the third-row for Tyco BMW, with Andrew Irwin and Richard Cooper completing the top nine.
The opening part of qualifying didn’t go to plan for Tommy Bridewell, with the 29-year-old crashing out of his Moto Rapido Ducati qualifying debut at Westfield.
Moments later, Chrissy Rouse went down at Druids on the Movuno.com Halsall Racing Suzuki. Fortunately for Rouse, he had already set a time and ended up making it through to Q2 in 18th spot.
Q1 was topped by Dixon, with Irwin, Mossey and Mackenzie all within +0.200s of him. Towards the back of the field, it was the end of the day for Honda Racing’s Dan Linfoot, Sylvain Barrier, Martin Jessopp, Dean Harrison, Shaun Winfield, Luke Hedger and Aaron Zanotti.
There was drama at the start of Q2 as James Ellison went down at Graham Hill Bend. The Anvil Hire TAG Racing rider came into the weekend as one of the favourites, given his impressive record at Brands Hatch.
Plenty of big names joined Ellison in the drop zone at the end of Q2, such as Jason O’Halloran (10th), Peter Hickman (11th) and Bradley Ray in 14th. Danny Buchan (12th), Michael Laverty (13th), Rouse (15th), Gino Rea (16th) and Mason Law (17th) also failed to make it through.
At the front, Dixon topped the timing sheets once again, ahead of Brookes, Haslam, Glenn Irwin and Andrew Irwin.
At the beginning of Q3, Dixon laid down a marker of 1:25.001 but this was quickly blown away by Glenn Irwin, who put in his pole position lap-time of 1:24.628 at the first-time of asking.
Mackenzie slotted into second with his first lap, a 1:24.769, with Brookes slotting into third on the second of the McAMS Yamaha machines.
With only a few moments remaining Andrew Irwin had a strange crash at turn one. Irwin sat up and appeared to be checking his lap-time when he went off line and ended up dropping the bike at the top of Paddock Hill Bend. Fortunately for Andrew, his brother (and today’s pole-sitter) Glenn was there to give him a lift back to the pits.
In the closing stages of the session Brookes and Dixon were able to leapfrog Mackenzie and join Irwin on the front-row of the grid for tomorrow’s opening race.