For the third time this season, Alex Lowes earned pole at the championship’s fifth round at Snetterton. The youngster on the Samsung Honda made changes overnight to give him the competitive edge against his rivals Shane Byrne on the Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki and Josh Brookes on the Tyco Suzuki.
“Yesterday was a nightmare but today has gone really well,” Lowes said. “We had been looking at the different tire options and we made some changes to the chassis setting overnight to try and find a compromise. The Samsung Honda then felt different this morning as it was completely new to what I had ridden with previously and it felt good once I adjusted a bit to it. We have done some good runs today and I think tomorrow we can have a good battle with the guys like Shakey [Byrne], Josh and Kiyo.”
A disappointed Byrne followed Lowes in second.
“The first two qualifying sessions weren’t actually that good for us and in the third one I think we finally got it together,” said Byrne. “I did a lap that wasn’t that cool and then there was somebody in front of me and I thought keep going, but he was still ahead of me, sat behind him and waited a lap but the checkered flag was already out before I could have one last stab at it. I am a bit disappointed but Alex’s lap was pretty rapid.”
Brookes, was happy with another front row grid spot in third but feels there is room for improvement and is still chasing his first win of the season.
“I feel quite good, this circuit seems to suit me quite well but we still haven’t matched our times from last year yet so there is still some room for improvement,” Brookes said. “Maybe that is from me, or the bike, perhaps the heat as it is warmer than last year. In the races we need to aim to get away as we are consistent over race distance rather than one fast lap. It is a great position to start from so hopefully we can make it a good race for myself and the Tyco Suzuki team.”
Lowes teammate Ryuichi Kiyonari completes the front row, his best qualifying effort of the year. The three-time series champion is happy with his continued progress and looks to close the gap on the guys up front.
“It is much better again this weekend, especially to be on the front row,” said Kiyonari. “I am very happy with this because it is the first one of the season. We need to keep trying still tomorrow because the others are very fast but we will be trying hard, because we want to be on the podium. We need to be consistent and try to have a good start.”
James Ellison on the Milwaukee Yamaha tops the second row in front of Chris Walker, Tommy Bridewell and Jakub Smrz. Rounding out the top ten was the Buildbase BMW teammates Jon Kirkham and James Westmoreland, finishing ninth and 10th respectively.
Byrne’s teammate suffered a leg injury after crashing in free practice three and waits for assessment ahead of tomorrows races as to whether he will be able to grid up or not.
American PJ Jacobsen qualified just outside the top 10 in 11th.
1. Alex Lowes (Samsung Honda)
2. Shane Byrne (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki)
3. Josh Brookes (Tyco Suzuki)
4. Ryuichi Kiyonari (Samsung Honda)
5. James Ellison (Milwaukee Yamaha)
6. Chris Walker (Quattro Plant Bournemouth Kawasaki)
7. Tommy Bridewell (Bathams Honda)
8. Jakub Smrz (Padgetts Honda)
9. Jon Kirkham (Buildbase BMW)
10. James Westmoreland (Buildbase BMW)