It’s one of the hottest days of the year at Brands Hatch, both for the weather, and the racing. A cloudy start to the day has given way to bright sunlight and slightly humid conditions.
The RAC reports heavy traffic from Junction 27 of the M25 clockwise, that’s from the M11, round to the Dartford River Crossing. Most fans are already here though, busy enjoying the weather and all the action, but if you can’t join them, we’ll have all the news and qualifying positions updated live throughout the day.
After the first five riders, James Toseland had the provisional pole with the only time under1:27:00, despite the best efforts of Chris Walker, who qualified .2 of a second further back.
Toseland still led after eight riders. Ben Bostrom could only manage third, behind Toseland and Juan Borja, and ninth rider Nori Haga was shaking his head after only managing fifth, sandwiched between Walker and Glen Richards.
Tenth man to go was Troy Bayliss, who went under Toseland’s time at the second split, and built on the gap slightly to take pole by .196 of a second.
Michael Rutter had 0.3s at the first split time, dropped slightly at the second, but eventually took pole by 0.030s, the British wildcard taking a sensational pole.
Ruben Xaus also had a torrid Superpole lap, marked by a few mistakes including a near highside, a near lowside and a number of moments, before the experienced Italian, Pier-Francesco Chili stole third from James Toseland.
Deafening cheers greeted the start of Neil Hodgson’s lap, encouraging him to go 0.376 under Rutter’s time at the first split. He moved to 0.931 faster by the second split, and finished on a 1:25:752, a full second quicker than the rest of the field with only Colin Edwards left to run.
Brands fell strangely silent for the final Superpole lap. It was only when Edwards finished the first split 0.329s outside of Hodgson’s time the crowd perked up, but they needn’t have worried as the Texan couldn’t close the gap.
The eventual order was Hodgson, Edwards, Rutter, Bayliss, Chili, Toseland, Borja, Bostrom, Byrne, Walker, Haga, Xaus, Richards, Martin, Lavilla, Ellison
Superpole is about to begin with Gregorio Lavilla the first man on the track.
3:30pm Superbike Free Practice:
Bayliss is back. The fastest man on the track is Colin Edwards, followed by Xaus and Chili, but the good news is that reigning World Champion Bayliss is well enough to be fourth fastest, albeit pushing Hodgson down to fifth.
Bayliss is suffering after a big crash earlier in qualifying. He was attempting to go past teammate Ruben Xaus who was on a much slower lap. Unfortunately Bayliss attempted to go around the outside of Xaus on the approach to Druids, and when Xaus moved over to take the racing line, the pair collided. Xaus, who had no idea that Bayliss was coming round his outside, could only watch as his teammate, and championship leader, Bayliss, was forced onto the grass, sliding in an attempt to scrub of speed before colliding with the armco. The injuries to Bayliss include a cracked rib and a damaged foot.
He’ll be out for Superpole, to avoid starting from twelth place.
3:00pm: Superbike Free practice:
With around 40 mins left of free practice, the fastest men on the track are Edwards, with a 1:26.733, then Xaus, Hodgson, Haga, Rutter, Chili, Walker, Byrne, Bostrom and Toseland all coming under the 1:28 barrier. Glen Richards is thirteenth, Ellison eighteenth, and Heckles twenty-first.
2:30pm: End of Supersport qualifying:
Brands has been captured by Frenchman Fabien Foret, who took pole in the Supersport qualifying session. He ended the session ahead of Karl Muggeridge and Brit Iain MacPherson. Stephane Chambon ended the session fourth, Teuchert fifth, Whitham in sixth, Fujiwara seventh, Kellner eight, Cogan ninth, and Carlacci tenth. Eleventh was Casoli, then Curtain, Vermulen, Pitt, Corradi, Daemen, Charpentier, Bontempi, Cruciani, Frost, Ellison, McGuinness, Lagrive, Nannelli, Smart, Easton, Arnold, Cipriani.
2:11pm: Supersport update:
James Ellison has just pulled to the side of the track with what looks like mechanical problems. The order is still Chambon, Cogan, Curtain, Casoli, then MacPherson , Foret, Corradi, Teuchert, Vermuelen and Fujiwara.
Latest news on Bayliss is that he has injured a vertebra in his back, and also has a foot injury, but will still be fit to ride tomorrow.
Frenchman Stephane Chambon is currently on pole position with 30 mins to go in Supersport qualifying. He’s ahead of Cogan, Casoli, Curtain, Teuchert, MacPherson, Whitham, Fujiwara and Pitt.
12.50pm: Sidecar qualifying
Sidecar qualifying is just ending. Steve Webster has taken pole from Abbott and Steinhausen. Tom Hanks is fourth, and Muldoon fifth. Webster qualified almost a second faster than the rest of the field, with a time of 1:30.247, compared to Abbott’s 1:31.148.
12:10pm: End of Superbike qualifying
The last seven minutes of qualifying witnessed a huge change in fortunes for the top few riders. Neil Hodgson lit the detonation cord by taking pole with the fastest ever lap around the Brands Hatch circuit. Before the cheers could die out, Colin Edwards had wrecked the celebration though, taking pole from under Neil’s nose. Pier-Francesco Chili also made a huge improvement to join the top three, but perhaps the biggest shock of the front row was the arrival of Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne into fourth place.
Michael Rutter might be slightly disappointed by dropping from third, but is also looking good for Superpole, along with Chris Walker, Glen Richards, and James Toseland. Toseland finished in the final Superpole position, down in 16th place.
11.50am: Superbike Qualifying
It’s a promising qualifying session for the British fans. Champion Troy Bayliss is still the fastest man around the Kent circuit, despite being crashing out it an incident involving teammate Ruben Xaus. Much of the excitement so far has revolved around the two Kawasakis of Chris Walker and BSB star Glen Richards. Richards, on the Hawk Kawasaki is actually the quicker at the moment, despite having a big moment as the two circulated together.
Neil Hodgson is currently in third, behind Bayliss, and title rival Colin Edwards. Hodgson’s teammate James Toseland is currently in 16th, behind Dean Ellison. Local hero Shane Byrne is currently tenth, behind WSB regular Noriyuki Haga