Smrz’s takes Ducati’s first BSB pole in four years
Datatag Extreme British Superbike Qualifying:
1: Jakub Smrz (Millsport Ducati) 1m:15.281s
2: Josh Brookes (Milwaukee Yamaha) +0.116s
3: Dan Linfoot (Quattro Plant Kawasaki) +0.342s
4: Shane Byrne (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki) +0.345s
5: Michael Rutter (Bathams BMW) +0.375s
6: Tommy Bridewell (Milwaukee Yamaha) +0.662s
Jakub Smrz powered to a stunning first ever pole start in the sixth round of the MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship at Thruxton. The vastly experienced rider from the Czech Republic celebrated the team’s best qualifying performance in their debut season, giving Ducati their first pole start since 2010.
Smrz held off the intense challenge of title-chasing Australian Josh Brookes on the Milwaukee Yamaha in the final session. He said: “This is a really great feeling. Before the start of qualifying I had joked with the team that I could become the first to win a watch as the pole starter in both the World and British series! This is important for us as we improve every round, the bike is getting better in every session and we are working hard. I enjoying the bike and finally we are getting something back, now I hope for the same in the races!”
Brookes said: “The Milwaukee Yamaha is working well here, we have made improvements over the weekend to get the compromise we needed and the combination has given me the feeling and drive that we had been looking for. We were fast in the wet and then this afternoon we were there in the dry in qualifying. I have done a lot of laps on the race tyre and we needed to get more laps on that as what I need to do to beat Shakey in the Championship is to win races. I am focused on that and I am happy with today.”
Dan Linfoot completes the front row of the grid for the local Quattro Plant Bournemouth Kawasaki team, his best qualifying position in the series. He eased the series leader and three times former title-winner Shane Byrne back into fourth fastest though the Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki rider was only 0.003s adrift of him.
Michael Rutter starts his Bathams BMW alongside Byrne on the second row which is completed by local hero Tommy Bridewell on the second Milwaukee Yamaha.
Bridewell said: “I am disappointed with qualifying this afternoon as I don’t feel that the second row was the best we could have achieved. I didn’t get the chance to show what we know we are capable of doing today but we are going to reassess everything this evening so we can fix the problem ready for the races tomorrow. We know that we can run a good pace and to be honest it is the races that are important.”
Former MotoGP rider John Hopkins set the seventh best time to be on the third row alongside Peter Hickman on the RAF Reserves Honda and Lloyds British GBmoto Kawasaki’s Chris Walker. Jon Kirkham completes the top ten on the Halsall Biker Gear Kawasaki.
Josh Waters qualified 16th on the Tyco Suzuki.
Alastair Seeley took out the opening Supersport bout to close in further on series leader Billy McConnell who could only take fourth place.
Jason O’Halloran took pole position in the tightly fought Superstock 1000 category, countryman David Johnson qualified tenth.
Kyle Ryde was the quickest Superstock 600 qualifier with Levi Day also scoring a front row start with the third quickest time. Benjamin Currie ranked 29th.