Glenn Irwin put in another impressive qualifying performance at Thruxton to take his second Bennetts British Superbike pole position in a row.
Irwin got the hammer down early in the final part of qualifying to put in a lap of 1:14.565, a time which nobody was able to beat due to predicted tyre wear issues. Luke Mossey came close (+o.032s), but had to settle for second on the JD Speedfit Kawasaki.
Andrew Irwin joins his older brother on the front-row after yet another brilliant display on his Ducati. The younger Irwin had broken the circuit lap record during the second part of qualifying.
Josh Brookes managed to find some extra grip in the closing stages to take fourth spot, with Bradley Ray and Jake Dixon joining the Australian on the second row.
Christian Iddon, who was smoking his tyres throughout Q3, heads row three for Tyco BMW in seventh. Championship leader Leon Haslam struggled throughout qualifying and had to settle for eighth, ahead of Danny Buchan on the FS-3 Racing Kawasaki.
The opening part of qualifying was topped comfortably by Ray, who set a lap-time of 1:14.860 on only his second lap. Ray was joined in the top three positions by Mossey and Dixon.
Tarran Mackenzie will start race one in last place after a mechanical issue forced him to return to the garage after his out lap. Michael Laverty also failed to make it out of Q1 and will start down in 19th on the Tyco BMW.
Other riders who failed to make it through included Gino Rea (20th), Fraser Rodgers (21st) and Tom Neave (22nd), who is making his debut with Honda Racing this weekend. Sylvain Barrier (23rd), Luke Hedger (24th) and Aaron Zanotti (25th) completed the knock-out zone of Q1.
Q2 started with a bang for the Irwin brothers, with Andrew going to the top of the timing sheets with a new lap record of 1:14.346 – 0.4 seconds under the previous record set by Shane Byrne. Glenn Irwin slotted into second, +0.183 behind his younger brother.
The duo were able to relax back in the garage for the remainder of the session, whilst other top contenders battled to make it inside the top nine. Dixon slotted into third position in the closing seconds, pushing Jason O’Halloran in to the drop zone (10th).
Peter Hickman (11th) and Richard Cooper (12th) also missed the cut, with Tommy Bridewell disappointed to be down in 13th at his home circuit. Martin Jessopp and Chrissy Rouse were next, ahead of the Anvil Hire TAG Racing duo of James Ellison and Shaun Winfield qualifying in 16th and 17th respectively. Mason Law closes out the top 18 on the Team WD-40 Kawasaki machine.
The top nine riders hit the circuit as soon as the flag dropped in Q3, knowing that getting a quick opening lap in would be important due to tyre wear. It was Glenn Irwin who went straight to the top of the timing sheets with a 1:14.565 and nobody was able to beat him.
Mossey slotted into second, with Andrew Irwin joining his brother on the front row of the grid after the opening laps of Q3.
As predicted, the field struggled to improve on their opening lap-times as the session wore on. Brookes was able to improve in the closing stages, moving up into fourth on his Yamaha. Haslam went out again to try and move up the grid, but he was unable to improve on his earlier lap-time.
The opening race at Thruxton is scheduled to start at 13:30 tomorrow, with race two due to begin at 16:30.