BSB

Laverty scoops pole position as HM Plant Honda miss top ten

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Swan Yamaha's Michael Laverty secured the second pole position of the Showdown at Silverstone this afternoon as the HM Plant Honda Title Fighters dramatically didn't qualify in the top ten as Shane 'Shakey' Byrne and Ryuichi Kiyonari will start from the fourth row for tomorrow's opening race.

"It feels great to be starting from pole position for tomorrow's opening race at Silverstone. We have been feeling good since free practice and we have made some fine tuning today and the times have been coming comfortably," Laverty said.

"I always label myself as someone that isn't good at qualifying but I am changing that opinion now I have had my second pole position now! I knew we would be on the back foot in the early stages of the weekend compared to John Hopkins as he had been here before, but I feel I have got one back on him now - he took pole from my brother Eugene here at WSB and now I have denied him the pole position here today! Hopefully I can get a clean start tomorrow and have no collisions like we had at Donington Park so I can try and close the gap."

In the opening qualifying session Swan Yamaha again set the pace with Laverty setting a lap early on to move ahead of Hill and then he set a faster lap to maintain the position. Jon Kirkham again had a strong showing as he went second fastest with just ten minutes remaining to be the leading Samsung Crescent Racing Suzuki rider in the session to separate the two Swan Yamahas. Peter Hickman again was the fastest Honda rider in fourth, ahead of John Hopkins, who returned to the track for the first time today.

Josh Brookes was sixth fastest with Michael Rutter running seventh in the opening session on the Rapid Solicitors-Bathams Ducati. The pressure was on the HM Plant Honda team as defending champion Ryuichi Kiyonari just made the cut for Q2 as the Japanese rider held on to 20th position in the closing stages and team-mate Shane 'Shakey' Byrne was seeking to overcome the problem he was suffering with chatter in twelfth.

Qualifying two was a tense and dramatic affair for the HM Plant Honda team as the pressure mounts on the Title Fighters both Byrne and Kiyonari struggled in the second session and despite the team working frantically to resolve the issues the pair could only qualify on the fourth row. Byrne, still suffering from chatter problems, will start 13th on the grid whilst Kiyonari could only move as high as 16th.

In Qualifying two again it was Laverty who set the pace as the fight to be inside the top ten for Q3 continued, but it was Brookes that closed in to finish the session second on the Relentless Suzuki by TAS as they made improvements from free practice.

The final qualifying session saw Laverty make it a hat trick in the three sessions to secure his second pole position of the season from Hopkins who finished just 0.077s adrift as he fought the pain to secure a front row start. Brookes held third to put the Relentless Suzuki by TAS back on the front row for the second time this season with Rutter sensationally securing the final front row position in fourth.

Championship leader John Hopkins was second fastest
Championship leader John Hopkins is in a good spot after battling with injury for a second spot start.

"Everything is going very well considering I've two plates and six screws wedged into my finger. It's very sore, so I've kept my track time to a minimum, but I'm confident it'll be fine for the races - as at Donington Park, the adrenaline will kick in and take care of those," Hopkins said.

"I'm lucky we had such a good setting to work from, as, after the WSB races earlier this year, we've been able to work from there and I know we have a good race-setting to go with. Tomorrow it'll be a case of getting a clean start and staying at the front. Bring home the points."

Josh Brookes had one of his better days after finding a good set-up later in the session.

"Yeah, that was quite good today although it took us a bit more time to get up to speed than the rest of the guys. We did it quite late in qualifying, so I'll just suck-it-and-see tomorrow where we are. We have no real knowledge of what tyre-wear is going to be like and if I have one concern in any area, that's where it will be."

Hill was pushed to the second row in fifth ahead of Kirkham and Jessopp who crashed unhurt at Maggotts in the final minutes. Hickman, Graeme Gowland and Dan Linfoot completed the top ten.
Josh Brookes came through late in the session for the 3rd fastest time
MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship, Silverstone, qualifying result:
1 Michael Laverty (Swan Yamaha) 2m:05.056s
2 John Hopkins (Samsung Crescent Racing Suzuki) +0.077s
3 Josh Brookes (Relentless Suzuki by TAS) +0.455s
4 Michael Rutter (Rapid Solicitors-Bathams Ducati) +0.475s
5 Tommy Hill (Swan Yamaha) +0.588s
6 Jon Kirkham (Samsung Crescent Racing Suzuki) +1.168s
7 Martin Jessopp (Rapid Solicitors-Bathams Ducati) +1.169s
8 Peter Hickman (Tyco Honda) +1.305s
9 Graeme Gowland (WFR Honda) +1.452s
10 Dan Linfoot (Tyco Honda) +1.679s

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