It was also a day to celebrate for his team, as it is the first time that the Panigale has made it on to the number one spot on the starting grid in the championship.
The former World Superbike contender successfully held off challenges from both Milwaukee Yamaha’s Josh Brookes and Quattro Plant Kawasaki’s Dan Linfoot. The Australian rider was a tenth off the pace of the Czech Republic rider, who himself was four tenths off the lap record.
Linfoot put in a stellar performance to bag his first front row start of the year, with a 1’15.623. Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki’s Shane Byrne failed to make it on to the front row for the first time this year, and heads up row two. The triple champ missed out on third on the starting grid by one-three thousandths of a second.
Byrne will be joined on row two with veteran racer, Michael Rutter and Milwaukee Yamaha’s Tommy Bridewell. Initially it was Smrz who set the quickest time of the weekend so far – a 1’15.281, ahead of Brookes and Linfoot on the three minute mark, and in the end on other rider was able to lap any faster.
Further down the starting grid Tyco Suzuki’s John Hopkins started from seventh, followed by RAF Reserves Honda’s Peter Hickman and GBmoto Kawasaki’s Chris Walker. Halsall Racing’s John Kirkham starts the fourth row.
- Sports & Recreation
- Dan Linfoot
- Josh Brookes
- Shane Byrne