Tommy Hill scored his first ever BSB pole and the first pole for Pirelli in the series with the fastest ever lap around the 2.356 mile Thruxton circuit in this afternoon’s qualifying session for tomorrow’s BSB second round.
But it was a close run thing. Hill was told to take it extra steady on his out lap to preserve the one-lap and it barely lasted a full lap as Hill clocked a sensational 1:14.43 on his Virgin Media Yamaha, just 0.055s quicker than Gregorio Lavilla on the Airwaves Ducati.
Hill previously qualified on pole in a superbike race but it was at the Silverstone WSB round last year.
Shane Byrne was third quickest on the Stobart Honda a further two tenths of a second adrift while Jonathan Rea completed the front row on the HM Plant Honda.
Stobart Honda’s Tom Sykes, Leon Camier on the Bike Animal Honda, Rizla Suzuki’s Chris Walker and BSB champion Ryuichi Kiyonari with the HM Plant Honda completed row two.
Cal Crutchlow, sore from his morning crash in practice, was ninth quickest but happy with his pace on race tyres with the Rizla Suzuki, while Leon Haslam had to be content with 10th quickest time on the second Airwaves Ducati.
Michael Rutter had a problematic run with a race tyre on the MSS Kawasaki so he wasn’t into the groove when he tried his qualifier. He wound up 11th and Karl Harris completed the third row on his Hydrex Honda.
Less than one second separated the first 12 riders on the grid. All 32 riders qualified for the races within the 107.5% qualification maxima rule.