Byrne on pole for King of Brands – but only just!

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PBM Kawasaki rider Shane Byrne has taken pole position for tomorrow’s opening MCE British Superbike race at Brands Hatch by the narrowest of margins, qualifying only 0.001 ahead of championship rival Josh Brookes.

Looking in control as always for most of the final session, it was only a late effort from the Milwaukee Yamaha rider that almost deposed the reigning champion from the top spot – although as he admitted afterwards, he’s never too concerned about pole.

“Listen, I’m happy to be pole position, but we always, always, always aim just to be on the front row. As the guys have said, you have a good chance of fighting for a race win, here’s the place you need to be. We’ve worked really, really hard and it’s always difficult doing the last interview, because basically everything those two say is exactly what you’ve got to say. We’ve worked hard this weekend on the race package and try to be consistent on lots of laps, that’s going to be a key factor and something we’re still chipping away at.

“My lap time that got pole was not brilliant. I had a bit of a moment coming out of Sheene Curve – I flicked my feet of the pegs just a tiny bit and got me all a bit in a tangle. I just about missed the apex at Stirlings and didn’t get the best of runs out of there. The last sector has been good for the bike this weekend and to lose that little bit was a bit disappointing, so I thought right, if that could be a 1m25.3s, then for sure I could go faster but I pushed the envelope just a little bit too much into Paddock the following lap and went a tiny bit wide and thought okay, abort, abort – cool down and then we’ll go again.

“I did another really good lap time but it was just a tenth off what I’d already done before and fortunately, there was plus 0.001s, but it was pole, it doesn’t really mean a great deal. There are no prizes for pole position; it just gives us a good start for tomorrow.”

Michael Laverty was a strong addition to the front row, taking the final spot after looking like a potential race winner all weekend, while Richard Cooper, Stuart Easton and James Ellison make up the second row.

Simon Patterson

By Simon Patterson

MotoGP and road racing reporter, photographer, videographer