John Hopkins continued his resurgent performance at the ninth round of the MCE Insurance British Superbike at Donington Park as the American fired his Tyco Suzuki to the top of the times ahead of triple champions Ryuichi Kiyonari and Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne.
The Tyco Suzuki rider headed off the determined challenges of Title Fighters Kiyonari and Byrne as they continue their chase a record-breaking fourth British title. Hopkins powered in a scorching lap of 1m 29.555s to top qualifying for the first time in three years at the circuit where has last celebrated a pole position in the Championship. The pole position was even sweeter for the American after he was sidelined with a technical problem in this morning’s final free practice session.
Hopkins scored a double win at the Leicestershire circuit in 2011, he said: “This is a really big treat. I didn’t do a lap in this morning’s free practice because of an electrical problem but the boys worked hard and got me back out there. I really enjoy this circuit because it is more about momentum and that is what we have with the Tyco Suzuki. We have a good pace and I am looking forward to the races.”
Kiyonari closed his Buildbase BMW to within 0.039s of Hopkins and reflected: “I am a little disappointed as I had gone faster in Q2 than in Q3, but I have a good pace for tomorrow and I am ready for the races.”
Byrne who is aiming to end a run of nine races without a win, was content with third on his Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki. The championship leader said: “Being on the front row here is so important, as it is about getting away and keeping the rhythm. They will be two long and difficult races tomorrow but we have some things to try in warm up ahead of them. We want to try and get those final Podium Points ready for the Showdown.”
Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki’s Stuart Easton and RAF Reserves Honda’s Peter Hickman recorded identical lap times to secure second row starts along with Aussie Josh Brookes on the Milwaukee Yamaha. Brookes bounced back from a crash in free practice at Redgate this morning to head off Josh Waters on his Tyco Suzuki and Tommy Bridewell. James Westmoreland and Dan Linfoot completed the top ten qualifiers.
Brookes said: “It hasn’t been the best day with the crash this morning in free practice. I was ok, it was just a shame that it gave the boys in the garage more work to do before qualifying. Normally the rear tyre starts to slide, but it didn’t. It loaded the front and then it let go and I slid off. We qualified on the second row which means that we have a bit more work to do in the races but we will be pushing as hard as we can. Every race we come to we are trying to get on the podium, so although we have made it a bit more difficult for ourselves tomorrow we will be doing everything possible.”
Josh Waters pretty-much missed two sessions with technical problems, but was also delighted with his qualifying performance. He said: “The boys worked hard to give me a top-class bike for qualifying and we can’t be too disappointed with that. I just chipped-away and once we got into Q3 my goal was the front two rows, but with the top-three all under the lap record, and to only be 0.4sec off the Pole-time, is a good effort. The goal is a good start tomorrow and tag onto that front group and score as heavily as I can.”
Luke Mossey will start this afternoon’s Motorpoint British Supersport Championship Sprint race from pole position as he topped qualifying for the first time this season. Mossey held off the determined late challenges of series leader Billy McConnell in the closing stages.
Techcare Profile Triumph’s Mossey set the pace through qualifying with a best lap in 1m 31.464s, pushing ahead of the Smiths Triumph team-mates and title rivals McConnell and Graeme Gowland who both secured an important front row start.
Glenn Irwin, the winner last time out at Cadwell Park, set the fourth fastest time to head the second row on his Gearlink Kawasaki with his team-mate Luke Hedger in sixth. Sam Hornsey riding for the locally-based Anvil Hire TAG Triumph team is sandwiched between them.
Taylor Mackenzie on his home circuit set the seventh best time on his Tyco Suzuki to be on a third row including Luke Jones on the Acumen Industrial Services Triumph and title contender Alastair Seeley.
James Rispoli completed the top ten qualifiers on his Team Traction Control Yamaha while Luke Stapleford starts from the fifth row having crashed his Profile Triumph early on in the session. Alex Olsen, the leader in the Motorpoint British Supersport EVO class, was the fastest qualifier in the class ahead of Tim Hastings and Sam Coventry.
Pirelli National Superstock 1000 Championship qualifying
Danny Buchan was fastest in both sessions to take the pole position on his Tsingtao WK Kawasaki by 0.833s from Adam Jenkinson whose late charge secured a front row start which is completed by Honda Racing’s Jason O’Halloran. Lee Jackson, Joe Burns and Freddy Foray start from the second row.
Pirelli National Superstock 600 Championship qualifying
Malachi Mitchell-Thomas powered to his first pole start of the season with a lap of 1m 34.210s aboard his Silicone Engineering Kawasaki to be just a tenth of a second up on FFX Yamaha rider Andy Reid. Series leader Kyle Ryde on the PacedayZ Trackdays Yamaha completes the front row. Joe Collier, Tarran Mackenzie and Nick Anderson start from the second row.
Motul British Motostar Championship qualifying (for Sunday race)
Joe Irving starts his Redline KTM Moto3 on pole position after setting a lap of 1m 37.772s ahead of 125GP Bradley Ray aboard the FAB EE bike. Olly Simpson completes the front row on his KTM. Jordan Weaving, Taz Taylor and Ed Rendell start from the second row.
Eastern Airways British Sidecar Championship qualifying
The Birchall brothers, Ben and Tom, fresh from their World Championship race-winning double last week in Germany, dominated qualifying. The pair scored pole position by 1.264s from Andy Peach/Charlie Richardson with series-leading Sean Hegarty/James Neave setting the third fastest time, starting from the second row alongside Tony Brown/Ashley Hawes.
Motul British Motostar Championship – Saturday race
Joe Irving maintained his title challenge with victory aboard his Redline KTM Moto3 bike though it was far from easy as Bradley Ray pursued him closely, crossing the line only a third of a second down. Jordan Weaving, the Moto3 series leader, took third on his KTM, ahead of Taz Taylor.
Eastern Airways British Sidecar Championship – Saturday race
The Birchall brothers Ben and Tom led throughout to take a comfortable victory, crossing the line eight seconds clear of series leaders Sean Hegarty/James Neave. Andy Peach/Charlie Richardson claimed third. Pekka Paivarinta/Timo Kattiala took fourth ahead of Roger Lovelock/Aki Alto who had overcome a technical problem, and with it a back of the grid start, to fight into contention.
TriStar R&G Triple Challenge -Saturday race
Freddy Pett increased his lead in the title chase, leading throughout to take the victory ahead of Scott Pitchers who regained second place on the final lap at the expense of Phil Atkinson. Sam Cox ran fourth ahead of Krister Bohm and Tom Carne.
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