Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne fought back at Oulton Park this afternoon as the defending champion claimed his first pole position of the season for the Be Wiser Ducati team, holding off Leon Haslam by 0.184s in the final eight minute battle for pole position in Datatag Qualifying.
The nine riders headed out for the final session but Haslam and Byrne were both pushing with their first flying lap with the treat of rain looming. A few spots of rain at the start of the session saw Haslam unfazed and the JG Speedfit Kawasaki rider instantly lapped with a best time of 1m:34.679s, but further down the track Byrne was focused on his lap and he edged ahead.
Byrne set his best lap of the weekend to edge Haslam, but the ‘Pocket Rocket’ gave it another go – improving his time but it wasn’t enough to push his Be Wiser Ducati rival from the top spot.
Luke Mossey completes the front row; he was left slightly disappointed after making a mistake on his fastest lap. It was just 0.199s that cost Josh Brookes a front row start for the Anvil Hire TAG Yamaha team; the Australian the only Yamaha rider to feature inside the top ten with the McAMS Yamaha duo of James Ellison in 15th and Michael Laverty crashing out unhurt in Q1.
Glenn Irwin qualified fifth fastest ahead of Jake Dixon who had his best qualifying of the season for the RAF Reserves Kawasaki team in sixth place. Jason O’Halloran was the leading Honda Racing rider in seventh with Peter Hickman and Christian Iddon completing the top nine.
MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship, Oulton Park, Datatag Qualifying:
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Be Wiser Ducati
Pole position, MCE BSB race one
“I feel pretty happy; we have worked and chipped away with the bike. It is good at a certain lap time and then we wanted to push on a little more and that then changes the feel. We have gone through qualifying and it has got better and better because when you override the Ducati it punishes you.
“It started to spit with rain as I started my lap and I thought ‘oh no, now what do I do!’ I committed and there were spots of rain on my visor. Your heart says go but then your head says no not yet just in case. Either way it was a decent lap and it was good enough for pole position. I feel at the end we could have pushed and tried again but I knew I had a gap so the front row was enough.”