Michael Laverty thought he was well on his way to his career first British Superbike pole position at Mallory Park, only until Tom Sykes denied him the closing seconds of today’s qualifying session.
Laverty set a best of 56.109 with seven minutes of the Superbike qualifying session remaining.
But a time of 56.005 by Sykes relegated the Relentless Suzuki down to second for tomorrow’s races.
Laverty told MCN: “I honestly thought I had it in the bag!
“We missed the second session yesterday because it was wet but got a lot of setup sorted today.
“My times have been consecutively, and anyone who knows me knows that I’m not a qualifier, so to be up there is great.”
Laverty still had time to get back to the pits and get out again after his blistering time, but said he didn’t feel it was necessary to push if he was fastest.
“I thought that time would be good enough,” he added.
“I went out again but just circulated round and kept checking my pit board.
“Each time I came round it still said P1, and the last time I crossed the line there were 15 seconds left and it still said P1 so I thought I had it.
“I’m a bit gutted really, but it looks good for tomorrow.”
Michael wasn’t the only Laverty to impress – younger brother John placed his NW200 Buildbase Ducati Cup bike on the front of the third row for tomorrow.
“John kept following me round,” said Michael.
“I knew he was lapping well because he kept with me, so I’m really happy for him to be up there, too.”