Brands Hatch British Superbikes: Shane Byrne tops rain-hit qualifying

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Shane Byrne will head-off from the first position on the grid tomorrow with a blisteringly fast pole lap that was some three tenths faster than anyone else in the field.

Byrne set a best of 1:25.832 in cold temperatures at Brands Hatch, just 0.7 seconds off Jonathan Rea’s qualifying lap of last year in more favourable conditions.

After the race Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne said: “We thought pole would be a 1:26.9 - I thought it would be difficult to achieve anymore with the cold track conditions.

“I’d love to get a double win tomorrow now – it would be a perfect way to start.

“Airwaves Ducati has offered me this opportunity so I’d love to repay them with a double win here.”

With black clouds looming all afternoon, the heavens opened with just five minutes of the session remaining meaning nobody could challenge the fast time of Byrne that he put in just minutes before the rain hit.

Cal Crutchlow overshadowed his team-mate Leon Haslam with a second quickest time of 1:26.155 ahead of the Karl ‘Bomber’ Harris who has been ultra fast all weekend, and the second of the HM Plant Hondas.

Tom Sykes upheld the honour of Suzuki to head off the front of the second row on his Rizla Suzuki ahead of Leon Camier on the second of the Airwaves machines.

Simon Andrews maintained his great run of form this weekend with the seventh fastest time on his Jentin Yamaha, and Northwest 200 Ducati’s Michael Rutter completed the front two rows with a 1:26.974.

Brands Hatch British Superbikes qualifying results:

1. Shane Byrne Airwaves Ducati 1.25.832
2. Cal Crutchlow HM Plant Honda 1.26.155
3. Karl Harris RM Yamaha 1.26.364
4. Leon Haslam HM Plant Honda 1.26.522
5. Tom Sykes Rizla Suzuki 1.26.641
6. Leon Camier Airwaves Ducati 1.26.833
7. Simon Andrews Jentin Racing/Lloyds British Yamaha 1.26.926
8. Michael Rutter North West 200 Ducati 1.26.974
9. Atsushi Watanabe Rizla Suzuki 1.27.893
10. Michael Laverty Relentless Suzuki 1.27.937
11. Billy McConnell MSS Discovery Kawasaki 1.28.206
12. Stuart Easton MSS Discovery Kawasaki  1.28.244
13. Steve Plater AIM Racing Yamaha 1.28.858
14. Guy Martin Hydrex Bike Animal Honda 1.28.873
15. Adam Jenkinson SMT Honda 1.28.880
16. James Buckingham Quay Garage Honda 1.28.921    

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Rob Hull

By Rob Hull