McAMS Yamaha has kick-started the Bennetts British Superbike Championship season with a 1-2 in qualifying at Silverstone, with Tarran Mackenzie claiming his first ever pole position from team-mate Jason O’Halloran.
Conditions could not be better at Silverstone this weekend, with a huge crowd streaming in to witness the action on the National Circuit. Mackenzie’s best ever lap came in the form of 53.549 seconds, just 54 thousandths of a second ahead of O’Halloran. Completing the front row for Sunday’s opening race will be MotoGP exile Scott Redding on his BSB debut with Be Wiser Ducati.
Tight times were the name of the day, with just seven tenths of a second covering the top 24 riders in Q1 and only three tenths back to 19th.
Behind the top three, OMG Racing Suzuki pairing Josh Elliot and Luke Mossey delighted their team with surprise top five positions, joined on the second grid row by Santander Salt TAG Yamaha’s Dan Linfoot. The rest of the top nine and remaining Q3 runners were Tommy Bridewell (Oxford Racing), Christian Iddon (Tyco BMW) and Luke Stapleford (Buildbase Suzuki).
Numerous pre-season favourites were eliminated early, including Josh Brookes whose V4 Ducati expired and dropped oil early in Q1. His lap time was enough to make Q2, but the Australian was unable to rejoin and will start just 18th on the grid. Former World Superbike man Xavi Fores is struggling for rear-end grip with his Honda and managed 11th, while Glenn Irwin qualified 15th after making significant changes to his Quattro Plant JG Speedfit Kawasaki overnight. Also lower than expected is Bradley Ray, on the back foot following an un-timely crash in Friday practice. After starting 2018 with a double win at Donington, he starts 2019 from 16th place. James Ellison hit trouble and pulled off the track with the Smiths Racing BMW.
Tarran Mackenzie, McAMS Yamaha – Pole Position
"I'm really happy," said Mackenzie. "I’ve struggled quite a lot in testing but was confident coming here to Silverstone because I had a good round last year. Something held me back in the first two parts of qualifying but we found something at the end of Q2 and managed to put in my best ever lap of Silverstone. It’s really nice, my third year with the team, Steve Rodgers an amazing team manager who I love to bits. You wouldn’t meet a happier man! I can’t wait for tomorrow!"
Jason O’Halloran, McAMS Yamaha – 2nd
It was good, really happy with a front row start and a 1-2 for the team," said O'Halloran. "Couldn’t be better for the boys. Expecting a really strong race and tight battle tomorrow. A few guys got in the way which wasn’t very good. I had to push at the end and the tyre was finished, but I had to push. Hoping for good two races tomorrow.
Scott Redding, Be Wiser Ducati – 3rd
"I’m over the moon," explained Reading. "I wanted to go for the pole in my first race, which is a bit ambitious but my target. It was very close. I was stuck in traffic earlier today so was a bit frustrated, but we have made a bit step in lap time and now I’m able to maintain it. It’s overwhelming to be on the front row in my first BSB qualifying. It was insane! I’m an adrenaline junky but that was just close your eyes and go all in. You get so much adrenaline. I’m super happy."
QUALIFYING CLASSIFICATION – SILVERSTONE
1. Tarran Mackenzie / McAMS Yamaha 53.549
2. Jason O’Halloran / McAMS Yamaha +0.054
3. Scott Redding / Be Wiser Ducati +0.058
4. Josh Elliot / OMG Racing Suzuki +0.189
5. Luke Mossey / OMG Racing Suzuki +0.259
6. Dan Linfoot / Santander Salt TAG Yamaha +0.325
7. Tommy Bridewell / Oxford Racing Ducati +0.344
8. Christian Iddon / Tyco BMW Motorrad +0.532
9. Luke Stapleford / Buildbase Suzuki +0.674
Eliminated in Q2
10. Andrew Irwin / Honda Racing
11. Xavi Fores / Honda Racing
12. Claudio Corti / Team WD-40 Kawasaki
13. Ryan Vickers / RAF Regular and Reserves Kawasaki
14. Danny Buchan / FS-3 Racing Kawasaki
15. Glenn Irwin / Quattro Plant JG Speedfit Kawasaki
16. Bradley Ray / Buildbase Suzuki
17. David Allingham / EHA Yamaha
18. Josh Brookes / Be Wiser Ducati
Eliminated in Q3
19. Ben Currie / Quattro Plant JG Speedfit Kawasaki
20. Keith Farmer / Tyco BMW Motorrad
21. Peter Hickman / Smiths Racing BMW
22. Sylvain Barrier / Brixx Ducati
23. Matt Truelove / Raceways Yamaha
24. Joe Francis / Lloyd & Jones Bowker Motorrad
25. Shaun Winfield / Santander Salt TAG Yamaha
26. James Ellison / Smiths Racing BMW
27. Dean Harrison / Silicone Engineering Racing
28. Fraser Rodgers / Gearlink Kawasaki
29. Dean Hipwell / CDH Racing
30. James Hiller / Quattro Plant JG Speedfit Kawasaki
31. Sam Coventry / Team 64 Motorsports
32. Conor Cummins / Milenco by Padgetts Motorcycles Honda
With an ideal weather forecast, the 2019 Bennetts British Superbike Championship commences at Silverstone on Sunday. Live coverage begins on Eurosport 2 from 1pm UK time.
Photos: Double Red / Yamaha Racing