Home contender Bradley Ray stormed to pole position in Datatag Qualifying ahead of the second round of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship at Brands Hatch this afternoon with a margin of 0.097s over reigning champion Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne.
A rapid qualifying session saw Ray and Byrne duel for the pole position ahead of tomorrow’s opening race, but the 20-year-old hotshot had the edge in the closing minutes to snatch the lead position from his Be Wiser Ducati rival.
James Ellison had continued his momentum from free practice to force his way up the order into third place for the Anvil Hire TAG Yamaha team, pushing Michael Laverty on the leading Tyco BMW back onto the second row.
Leon Haslam had been moving up the order during the final stages of Q3 but he had to settle for fifth place as JG Speedfit Kawasaki became the fifth different team and manufacturer to feature in the top five.
The ‘Pocket Rocket’ was narrowly ahead of Tommy Bridewell, who had been the early pace setter for the Movuno.com Halsall Racing Suzuki team, and Jake Dixon for the RAF Regular & Reserves Kawasaki team.
Honda Racing had a high-pressure start to their Q3 after Jason O’Halloran crashed out at Druids in the final moments of the Q2 session. He was able to return to the garage and the team worked hard to turn the Fireblade around to get the ‘O’Show’ back on circuit.
The hard work paid off and the Australian was able to head out for Q3 to qualify in eighth position, just ahead of Tarran Mackenzie who was the highest placed McAMS Yamaha in ninth place.
Bennetts British Superbike Championship, Brands Hatch, Datatag Qualifying:
- Bradley Ray (Buildbase Suzuki) 44.997s
- Shane Byrne (Be Wiser Ducati) +0.097s
- James Ellison (Anvil Hire TAG Yamaha) +0.148s
- Michael Laverty (Tyco BMW) +0.318s
- Leon Haslam (JG Speedfit Kawasaki) +0.321s
- Tommy Bridewell (Movuno.com Halsall Racing Suzuki) +0.394s
- Jake Dixon (RAF Regular & Reserves Kawasaki) +0.453s
- Jason O’Halloran (Honda Racing) +0.530s
- Tarran Mackenzie (McAMS Yamaha) +0.866s
The next round of the 2018 Bennetts British Superbike Championship take place at Brands Hatch on April 13/14/15. For more information visit www.britishsuperbike.com
Pole position, Brands Hatch Indy
“To be honest, coming off what we did yesterday in free practice I was a little bit conscious of coming into today being 17th and quite far down. I got a bit worried to be fair overnight, we were chasing our tail a bit looking through data and I was getting a bit annoyed to see myself down in 17th and I didn’t know why.
“We found something this morning in free practice three and got a bit of confidence back and the bike was working fairly well. I was aiming to get on the first two rows, which is vital round the Indy circuit for the start and to make the race a little bit easier for yourself, but to come away at Brands with a pole is unbelievable and to do a 44′ as well is something special.
“Tomorrow is race day, it’s all about tomorrow. If we can get a good start and have a good race then we’ll see where we are at the end.”