Brookes scores pole at Brands
Top six qualifying times
1: Josh Brookes (Tyco Suzuki) 52.877s
2: Jon Kirkham (Samsung Honda) +0.278s
3: Shane Byrne (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki) +0.484s
4: Tristan Palmer (GBmoto) +0.708s
5: Freddy Foray (Quattro Plant Kawasaki) +0.890s
6: Noriyuki Haga (Swan Yamaha) +0.934s
Josh Brookes will start the Easter Monday opening race of the MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship at Brands Hatch from pole position after a dramatic qualifying session during which the reigning title holder Tommy Hill crashed out.
Defending champion Hill will start the race from the eighth row of the grid for Swan Yamaha, he fell on his fourth lap of the first part of the grid decider. He said: “I was coming out of Druids and had to get past another rider as I wanted to get in a couple of fast banker laps before the rain came down.
“I squirted around him but then hit a damp patch and lost the front end and was down. I picked the bike up but the bar had snapped and there was too much damage, so that was it.”
Hill’s consolation is that he has the chance to improve his grid position for the second race by his performance in the first: “I have to get out there in the first race, get what I can out of it, and get in fast race laps as they formulate the grid for the second race, and I need to be up there.”
Riding the Tyco Suzuki Brookes timed his challenge perfectly, pushing ahead of Samsung Honda’s Jon Kirkham who had challenged for the first pole position of the season, with little more than a couple of minutes of the session remaining.
“I’m really happy – sometimes these conditions suit me and here the Suzuki worked really well and that fills me with confidence for the races if they are run in the wet,” said Brookes.
“It was tough out there and the tyres were squirming around; you could really feel the bike moving. I was not the fastest for a number of laps, but then pushed on, got pole, and that was the best I could get as I was riding close to the limits,” added Brookes.
Kirkham, making his debut with the Samsung Honda team was delighted to be on the front row: “I knew in the last session that that first few laps would be the best, but after Josh had gone ahead of me I tried to push again and was nearly off.”
Third fastest in the final element of qualifying was the former two times title winner Shane Byrne, and that was despite an excursion through the gravel at Paddock Hill Bend. “I decided to give it more push and was sideways at Paddock and went straight into the gravel and was happy to get through it and keep going,” said the Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki rider.
Tristan Palmer aboard the GB Moto Honda completes the front row of the grid after an impressive debut for the team into the MCE Superbike class this season. “It’s a great start for the team as they move up to Superbikes – I didn’t expect this, the conditions worked for us but it is fantastic for us to be at the front.”
Former World Endurance Champion Freddy Foray heads the second row on his Quattro Plant Kawasaki ahead of former World Superbike rider Noriyuki Haga, riding the Swan Yamaha; Tommy Bridewell aboard the Supersonic BMW and MSS Bathams Kawasaki rider Michael Rutter.