The competition in the British Superbike series is fierce and today’s qualifying session at Knockhill was no exception. While Tyco Suzuki’s Josh Brookes set the pace for most of the three qualifying sessions, it was the man on the Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki, Shane Byrne, who edged him out in the end by just one-tenth of a second.
Byrne’s pole winning lap also broke his own 2006 record and marked his second straight pole of the season.
"I'm really pleased with this pole position,” Byrne said. “My first flying lap was good, but then Josh Brookes came through and I thought I just had to go for it. I had a few moments on the lap, but here we are.”
Byrne had the extra motivation to win the pole position for his wife who is currently in the hospital. “I wanted to get that pole position for my wife Petra who is unwell,” he said. “Hopefully that will give her something to smile about and thanks to everyone for sending her their best wishes.”
Even though Brookes narrowly missed out on his first pole position this season, it is his best result thus far this season.
“I am happy with that time as we had a couple of problems earlier in the weekend with handling,” Brookes said. “I did make a few mistakes on my best lap which was a shame, but we got some steady laps together and at a small track like this you need a perfect lap. There were a couple of times when I was flustered and out of shape, but we did the best we could.”
The youngster on the Samsung Honda, Alex Lowes remained consistent with his fourth-straight front row appearance this year by qualifying in third. Even though he felt that changes to the bike were needed for race day, he was happy with his place on the front of the grid.
"It is good to be back on the front row and a track like Knockhill where you have a 48 second lap time, everything you do counts,” Lowes said. “So I am happy with that.”
Leading the second row of the grid is Jon Kirkham on the Buildbase BMW and Lowes’ teammate Ryuichi Kiyonari in fifth.
American PJ Jacobsen continues to make progress in his rookie superbike season, and finished the day in sixth. Jacobsen was happy with what he felt was his best qualifying session so far in British Superbike.
“I'm just learning the track more-and-more,” Jacobsen explained. “So the more laps I get, the better at this stage. It was also really good to get behind Josh and see what he was doing different than me, so yeah it sets me up well for the opening race tomorrow."
Leading the third row in seventh is James Westmoreland on the Buildbase BMW. Following him are two guys on Kawaskis, Rapid Solicitor’s Keith Farmer in eighth and the Quattro Plant’s Chris Walker in ninth.
With his team’s hard work to get him back out in the final session after his crash late in the second session, Peter Hickman was able to round out the top ten on the Lloyds British GBMoto Honda.
1. Shane Byrne (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki)
2. Josh Brookes (Tyco Suzuki)
3. Alex Lowes (Samsung Honda)
4. Jon Kirkham (Buildbase BMW)
5. Ryuichi Kiyonari (Samsung Honda)
6. PJ Jacobsen (Tyco Suzuki)
7. James Westmoreland (Buildbase BMW)
8. Keith Farmer (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki)
9. Chris Walker (Quattro Plant Kawasaki)
10. Peter Hickman (Lloyds British GBmoto Honda)