BSB: Byrne sets pole with blistering Oulton pace

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Shane Byrne will start tomorrow’s opening Bennetts British Superbike race on pole position after narrowly missing out on the outright lap record of Oulton Park in qualifying.

The six-time champion’s time came on his first flier in Q3, placing him 0.130 seconds ahead of second-placed Jake Dixon, who has shown vast improvement this weekend after a tough first two rounds.

After topping last week’s official test, Glenn Irwin continued to show strong pace as he went on to qualify third and make it two Be Wiser Ducatis on the front row.

Leon Haslam, who put a new engine in before qualifying, narrowly missed out on the front row and will start tomorrow’s opening race fourth for JG Speedfit Kawasaki.

Jason O’Halloran starts fifth for Honda Racing while the second JG Speedfit Kawasaki of Luke Mossey rounds out the second row.

Tommy Bridewell enjoyed a strong qualifying session on the Movuno Halsall Suzuki to bag his best grid position of the year in seventh, ahead of Peter Hickman who only got two laps in the session after the Smiths BMW team frantically repaired his S1000RR after a crash at Old Hall in Q2.

Series leader Bradley Ray will start ninth after a nightmare session saw him fall at Lodge on his first flying lap. With no damage he re-mounted, but made an error in not returning to the pits for his GSX-R1000 to be checked as the rules dictate. He was subsequently black flagged and by the time he returned to the pits was unable to get back on track to set a lap.

Anvil Hire TAG Yamaha’s James Ellison was just hundredths off a spot in Q3 as he crossed the line to qualify tenth and top Yamaha with Josh Brookes’ early weekend promise failing to materialise in qualifying. The Aussie will start the opening race 12th

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Oli Rushby

By Oli Rushby

Former sports reporter covering British Superbikes, World Superbikes and road racing