BSB - Brookes takes pole at Brands Hatch
Josh Brookes took pole position for the British Superbike Championship race in wet conditions at Brands Hatch after a dramatic qualifying session during which the reigning title holder Tommy Hill crashed out.
The Kent track was dry when qualifying began but rain came down during the session as Brookes held off the field by three tenths of a second.
The biggest casualty of the rain was defending champion Hill who will start the race from the eighth row of the grid for Swan Yamaha, he fell on his fourth lap of the first part of the grid decider. He said: “I was coming out of Druids and had to get past another rider as I wanted to get in a couple of fast banker laps before the rain came down.
"I squirted around him but then hit a damp patch and lost the front end and was down. I picked the bike up but the bar had snapped and there was too much damage, so that was it.”
Hill’s consolation is that he has the chance to improve his grid position for the second race by his performance in the first: “I have to get out there in the first race, get what I can out of it, and get in fast race laps as they formulate the grid for the second race, and I need to be up there.”
Riding the Tyco Suzuki Brookes timed his challenge perfectly, pushing ahead of Samsung Honda’s Jon Kirkham who had challenged for the first pole position of the season, with little more than a couple of minutes of the session remaining.
"I’m really happy – sometimes these conditions suit me and here the Suzuki worked really well and that fills me with confidence for the races if they are run in the wet,” said Brookes.
“It was tough out there and the tyres were squirming around; you could really feel the bike moving. I was not the fastest for a number of laps, but then pushed on, got pole, and that was the best I could get as I was riding close to the limits,” added Brookes.
Kirkham, making his debut with the Samsung Honda team was delighted to be on the front row: “I knew in the last session that that first few laps would be the best, but after Josh had gone ahead of me I tried to push again and was nearly off.”
Third fastest in the final element of qualifying was the former two times title winner Shane Byrne, and that was despite an excursion through the gravel at Paddock Hill Bend. “I decided to give it more push and was sideways at Paddock and went straight into the gravel and was happy to get through it and keep going,” said the Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki rider.
Tristan Palmer aboard the GB Moto Honda completes the front row of the grid after an impressive debut for the team into the MCE Superbike class this season. “It’s a great start for the team as they move up to Superbikes – I didn’t expect this, the conditions worked for us but it is fantastic for us to be at the front.”
Former World Endurance Champion Freddy Foray heads the second row on his Quattro Plant Kawasaki ahead of former World Superbike rider Noriyuki Haga, riding the Swan Yamaha; Tommy Bridewell aboard the Supersonic BMW and MSS Bathams Kawasaki rider Michael Rutter.
Q3 results (Pos-Name-Bike-Team-Nationality-Q1-Q2-Q3)
1 Josh BROOKES Suzuki - Tyco Suzuki AUS 50.071 53.359 52.877
2 Jon KIRKHAM Honda - Samsung Honda GBR 49.382 53.547 53.155
3 Shane BYRNE Kawasaki - Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki GBR 50.498 54.004 53.361
4 Tristan PALMER Honda - GBmoto Racing GBR 48.862 53.943 53.585
5 Freddy FORAY Kawasaki - Quattro Plant Kawasaki Superbike Team FRA 50.577 53.863 53.767
6 Noriyuki HAGA Yamaha - Swan Yamaha JPN 50.132 53.836 53.811
7 Tommy BRIDEWELL BMW - Supersonic Racing Team GBR 49.668 53.905 53.847
8 Michael RUTTER Kawasaki - MSS Bathams Kawasaki GBR 49.176 53.626 53.883
9 Stuart EASTON Kawasaki - Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki GBR 49.656 54.023 54.496
10 Luca SCASSA Honda - Padgetts Racing ITA 49.802 53.789 54.526
Knocked out after Q2
11 Ian LOWRY Honda - Padgetts Racing GBR 49.605 54.082
12 Gary MASON Kawasaki - Quattro Plant Kawasaki Superbike Team GBR 49.959 54.133
13 Alastair SEELEY Suzuki - Tyco Suzuki GBR 50.359 54.324
14 Graeme GOWLAND Honda - Team WFR GBR 49.873 54.384
15 Peter HICKMAN Kawasaki - MSS Bathams Kawasaki GBR 50.515 54.385
16 Chris WALKER Kawasaki - Pr1mo Bournemouth Kawasaki Racing GBR 49.900 54.427
17 Patric MUFF BMW - Supersonic Racing Team SUI 49.589 54.541
18 Luke QUIGLEY Honda - GBmoto Racing GBR 50.322 55.063
19 Barry BURRELL BMW - Buildbase BMW Motorrad GBR 50.539 56.062
20 Florian MARINO Aprilia - Splitlath Redmond FRA 50.573 56.299
Knocked out after Q1
21 Michael LAVERTY Honda - Samsung Honda GBR 50.606
22 James WESTMORELAND Honda - Team WFR GBR 50.662
23 Scott SMART Ducati - Moto GBR Rapido Racing 50.724
24 Dan LINFOOT BMW - Buildbase BMW Motorrad GBR 50.849
25 James HILLIER Kawasaki - Pr1mo Bournemouth Kawasaki Racing GBR 50.881
26 Alex LOWES Honda - Team WFR GBR 51.173
27 Aaron ZANOTTI Suzuki - A-Plant Suzuki GBR 51.241
28 Alex POLITA Ducati - Jentin Doodson Motorsport ITA 51.485
29 Tommy HILL Yamaha - Swan Yamaha GBR 51.931
30 John LAVERTY Aprilia - Splitlath Redmond GBR 51.999
31 Jenny TINMOUTH Honda - Hardinge Sorrymate.com Honda GBR 52.968
32 Tom TUNSTALL Ducati - Jentin Doodson Motorsport GBR 53.772
33 Abdulaziz BINLADIN Ducati - Moto KSA Rapido Racing 56.275