It was a historic day at Thruxton for Glenn and Andrew Irwin as they became the first brothers in Bennetts British Superbike Championship history to qualify on the front-row.
Glenn took his second pole position in a row after beating Luke Mossey by just +0.032s, whilst Andrew claimed his first-ever British Superbike front-row, in only his fourth race meeting, by qualifying third.
Glenn Irwin had been showing pace throughout the weekend, finishing second in free practice two on Friday and then topping free practice three this morning – becoming the first rider to dip below the 1:15 barrier.
After lapping inside the circuit record during Q2, Glenn got his head down and pushed immediately in the final session – knowing that the tyres would only be good for a lap or two. On his second flying lap Glenn posted a 1:14.565 lap, which was enough for pole position.
Speaking after the session, Glenn said:
“It’s really nice to take pole position again and even better to have two Be Wiser Ducatis on the front row. We’ve constantly been improving the bike all weekend and the lap in Q2 felt good although I could see Andrew had gone even quicker. In Q3, we were all circulating together, and Leon Haslam made a mistake in front of me which cost me time, but I dug deep on the second lap to put in another decent lap which was good enough for pole and am feeling good ahead of tomorrow’s races.”
Andrew Irwin also broke the circuit record in Q2, smashing Shane Byrne’s record by 0.4s with his lap-time of 1:14.346 to top the timing sheets ahead of his brother.
Although he was unable to repeat this in the final part of the session, the 23-year-old was still able to claim his maiden front-row start and was only +0.117s behind his brother.
A delighted Andrew Irwin commented:
“When I was following Glenn in Q2, I didn’t think I had the pace to stay with him for the whole lap so when I saw the time on my dash, I was ecstatic! Glenn’s been a real big help these last couple of weeks and we’ve been training together a lot so I’m reaping the benefits now.
“I feel like I’m in a good place ahead of tomorrow’s races but tyre wear, as always, will be crucial. Two top tens are again the aim, but I obviously want more so I need to stay calm in the early laps and look after the tyres as best as I can so we’re still there in the second half of the race.”
Sunday’s two 20-lap races are scheduled to get underway at 13.30 and 16.30 respectively.