James Ellison claimed pole position in a dramatic Datatag Qualifying session in wet conditions at Assen as Showdown contender Leon Haslam was the only rider in the top six of the MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship standings to qualify inside the top ten.
The session got underway and instantly ended in disaster for Peter Hickman as he crashed the Smiths Racing BMW unhurt; he was able to finally get back on track but he will start 19th on the grid for tomorrow’s opening race.
The next of the Showdown contenders to crash out was Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne and the defending champion got to his feet and managed to get the Be Wiser Ducati back to the garage. The team worked to repair the damage and he was soon back on circuit but another slid off ended his hopes of progressing to Q3 and he starts 16th on the grid and just one place adrift of Jason O’Halloran.
Josh Brookes and Jake Dixon also missed out on the cut for the top nine in Q3 and they start 11th and 12th respectively.
In the final stage of Datatag qualifying Ellison had taken the advantage at the start of the session but then Haslam had cut to the top of the times. As the time ticked down Christian Iddon then posted the fastest time before Ellison moved back ahead for McAMS Yamaha.
The last rider on a flying lap was Haslam and the JG Speedfit Kawasaki rider just missed out on the pole position, splitting Ellison and Iddon on the front row and pushing Dan Linfoot back onto the second row for Honda Racing.
Bradley Ray starts alongside Linfoot with John Hopkins completing the second row for Moto Rapido Ducati. Josh Elliott overcame a huge moment to save a crash and score his best qualifying result of the season in seventh place on the second of the Tyco BMWs with Sylvain Guintoli and Michael Laverty completing the top nine.
MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship, Assen, Datatag Qualifying:
- James Ellison (McAMS Yamaha) 1m:54.027s
- Leon Haslam (JG Speedfit Kawasaki) +0.082s
- Christian Iddon (Tyco BMW) +0.161s
- Dan Linfoot (Honda Racing) +0.671s
- Bradley Ray (Buildbase Suzuki) +1.213s
- John Hopkins (Moto Rapido Ducati) +1.344s
- Josh Elliot (Tyco BMW) +1.916s
- Sylvain Guintoli (Bennetts Suzuki) +2.412s
- Michael Laverty (McAMS Yamaha)
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“It was a good session. We haven’t had great pace in the wet this season so I was a little dubious when I saw what the conditions were like. We made some big steps this morning and then a few tiny changes in Superpole and all of a sudden it just worked.
“To come out with a pole position I’m peaking! I was pushing on quite a bit, I was definitely on my limit. I think I nearly crashed about 18 times on that lap! We could do with a bit of dry time in warm-up to work on the bike as we went the wrong way in the dry yesterday.”
JG Speedfit Kawasaki
Championship position: 1st, qualified 2nd
“I saw a lot of people crashing, so it was a case of judging how hard to push. I had a good feeling with the bike, didn’t have too many moments in Q2 and I made some quite big changes with the bike between sessions and I only got out for the final five minutes.
“We’d gone the wrong way with the bike and I had so many moments. We still managed to do a good lap time, and the biggest bonus is that we’re on the front row and our biggest title threats aren’t on the first three rows.”