Shane Byrne has taken pole position for the opening MCE British Superbike race at Oulton Park tomorrow with a blistering lap time only 0.042 off the absolute lap record, set back in the days of full-spec superbikes and customised qualifying tyres.
Byrne lapped the Cheshire circuit in 1:34.557, only 0.042 off the lap set by Karl Harris on the factory HM Plant Superbike back in 2006.
Byrne said: "To be honest with you I didn't know what would be possible today in terms of lap times but I am happy to be back on pole. I did a 134.9 lap on a used tyre after the first run, so I was hopeful that we had a bit of pace in us for the final session, but it was pretty tight when that time popped up! I think we have done our homework here this weekend and fingers crossed we can have a good result in the races tomorrow."
However, he didn’t have the session all his own way, with Josh Brookes and James Ellison lapping closely behind, less than 0.4 seconds off the pace and both near a similar pace to last year’s pole time. With Ellison still battered and bruised from Brands Hatch, however, he admits that he may struggle in tomorrow’s two 16-lap races.
Byrne’s Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki teammate Stuart Easton leads the second row, with the diminutive Scotsman, traditionally a mediocre qualifier, looking strong all weekend. Fifth is Dan Linfoot, on excellent form on the Quattro Kawasaki, with Tommy Bridewell, making a slow start to the weekend, sixth on the second of the Milwaukee Yamahas.