Shane Byrne smashed Leon Haslam’s seven-year old circuit record to comfortably take pole position for the British Superbike double header at Cadwell Park.
|Byrne qualified 0.9s ahead of his nearest rival
Picture: MCE BSB.com
Byrne set a staggering time of 1min 26.017s to lead Ryuichi Kiyonari by a full nine tenths of a second, with Tommy Bridewell a further 0.7s back in third, after a late lap gave him his first front row start of the season.
Milwuakee Yamaha team-mate Josh Brookes was not so lucky. The Australian will start from a hugely disappointing tenth place after machine troubles prevented him from setting a time in the final dash in Q3. Brookes’ team frantically worked on the bike and he exited pit lane with insufficient time to set a flying lap.
The writing was on the wall for Byrne’s rivals as early as Q2, when he laid an early marker with an impressive 1 min 26.5secs effort – putting half a second between himself and the rest of the field.
“I had 0.9 on my pit board and I knew that was by far faster than I had gone all weekend,” he said. “I dug deep and fortunately it panned out.”
Kiyonari meanwhile was happy with his final effort, claiming tomorrow’s race will be easier than last time out, when he qualified tenth. “Qualifying is not my favourite session,” he said. “I’m always nervous and can’t push hard. But today is better than last time, where I start from the fourth row. I’m happy with second. I saw Shakey’s time – it was very fast. Tomorrow I hope I can win.”
Bridewell said, “The Milwaukee Yamaha is working good. We lost a whole session yesterday and I thought I was going to struggle. We had a massive direction change this morning and it worked well. I thought we’d struggle to come near Shane and ‘Kiyo’. Hopefully I can turn the front row start into some podiums tomorrow.”
Chris Walker (+1.7secs) heads the second row after Bridewell demoted him at the close of the session, ahead of Peter Hickman (+1.754secs) and Josh Waters (+1.96secs), both of whom enjoyed their best qualifying performances of 2014.
Jon Kirkham placed seventh ahead of John Hopkins, who could be seen wincing from the pain of the broken bones in his foot after the session. Fresh from his debut BSB podium, Dan Linfoot rounds out the third row in ninth.
The returning James Westmoreland, who broke his thumb in a spill at Knockhill, placed an encouraging 16th but James Ellison wasn’t so lucky. Sunday’s efforts looked to have taken their toll on the GB Moto Kawasaki man, whose 22ndfastest time kept him from qualifying through to Q2.
Ellison, who broke his leg just five weeks ago at Brands Hatch, subsequently confirmed that he was unlikely to start Monday’s races. “I get four to five laps in and I can’t control the bike,” he told British Eurosport. “I tried my best but I can’t ride my bike only to ride around at the back of the pack.”
The red flags were deployed midway through Q1 as marshals attended to Patrick Muff at the side of the track after he high-sided on the exit on Mansfield. Although taken to the medical centre, Muff was able to gingerly walk away from the incident.
Full qualifying times can be seen here.