Byrne tops BSB qualifying at Croft

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Shane Byrne is in pole position for tomorrow’s third round of the MCE British Superbike championship at Croft.

The HM Plant Honda rider set a best lap of 1m 20.069secs to pip Swan Yamaha rival Michael Laverty by 0.125s.

BSB points leader Byrne, has never won a BSB race at Croft, but said: “I’m happy to be on pole but it’s more by luck than judgement as the rain came when I was at the fastest part of the circuit.

“I had couple of riders ahead of me and I used them as markers – I thought if they stay smooth, then I’ll be okay. In the end it worked out fine, and the team has worked hard to sort a setting for the bike that suits this track, which is mix of tight and fast flowing corners as well as being really bumpy.”

Laverty’s hopes of securing his first-ever BSB pole were thwarted by the rain. He said: “I had topped the first two qualifying sessions but as I got to Sunny In o nthe back part of the circuit it was spotting with rain so rather than risk everything, I rolled it off. Now I wish I’d taken a chance but we’ve a good race pace and are in good shape for tomorrow.”

The front row in completed by Frenchman Loris Baz on the Motorpoint Yamaha and Michael Rutter on the Rapid Solicitors Bathams Ducati.

Local rider James Westmoreland, riding the second Motorpoint Yamaha. heads up the second row, running a little over a tenth of a second faster than Stuart Easton’ Kawasaki, Dan Linfoot on Honda and Swan Yamaha’s Tommy Hill, who continues to ignore the pain from his injured shoulder.

Samsung Crescent Suzuki’s John Hopkins starts from the third row – after being caught out by the rain in final qualifying. Tyco Honda rider Peter Hickman lost a chance to score a sensational qualifying time after being forced to pit for a fresh tyre, which meant he didn’t get a lap in the dry on the new rubber.

Gary Mason, on the MSS Colchester Kawasaki, and Relentless Suzuki’s Josh Brookes complete the third row.

Defending champion Ryuichi Kiyonari starts from the fourth row on his HM Plant Honda after struggling with bike set-up issues all weekend.

Top six qualifying times:
1.Shane Byrne (HM Plant Honda) 1m:20.069s
2. Michael Laverty (Swan Yamaha) +0.125s
3.Loris Baz (Motorpoint Yamaha) +0.195s
4.Michael Rutter (Rapid Solicitors-Bathams Ducati) +0.749s
5.James Westmoreland (Motorpoint Yamaha) +0.871s
6.Stuart Easton (MSS Colchester Kawasaki) +0.911s


Gary Pinchin

By Gary Pinchin