Michael Rutter will start from pole position in Sunday’s BSB round at Knockhill on the Renegade Ducati after the most dramatic qualifying session of the season.
Officials had already scrapped SuperPole due to foul weather conditions and reverted instead to two 40-minute sessions and competitors got the slim chance of five dry laps all day.
Those laps came at the very start of the final afternoon session. Rutter made the most of the dry track time, setting pole on his fourth lap on a race tyre with a 50.7s lap, with rain already in the air. But he crashed his Renegade Ducati on the very next lap as he tipped into Clark Curve a bit early, trying to pass a backmarker, and touched a damp patch of Tarmac.
" It was my mistake. I turned too tight and folded the front, " he said.
Teammate Shane Byrne was also on the pace immediately to secure the grid spot next to Rutter with a 50.733 while Glen Richards put the Hawk Kawasaki on the front row after starting the session on a qualifying tyre – one of only two riders to do so.
The other rider on a qualifier was Steve Hislop but the series leader was bumped off the front row by IFC Racing’s Paul Brown.
Hislop wasn’t too worried. He said: " I started second row here last year and got on the podium both times. "
John Reynolds will start from the third row of the grid. He opted to swap for a qualifying tyre after three laps but by the time he got back on the track the rain was teeming down. Reynolds said: " This is a bit of a disaster. Getting a good start here is vital because it’s a tight lap and very difficult to get through traffic. If you don’t get away with the leaders, you’re going to struggle. I’ll just have to make a decent start! "
Rutter 50.70. Byrne 50.73. Richards 50.93. Brown 51.26. Hislop 51.54. Plater 51.61. Mason 51.65. Emmett 51.77. Burr 52.15. Reynolds 52.19.