Glenn Irwin claimed his first pole position in the Bennetts British Superbike Championship at Brands Hatch this afternoon, launching the Be Wiser Ducati to the top of the times to hold off Josh Brookes in an incredibly close Datatag Qualifying, with the top nine covered by just 0.696s.
Irwin had topped yesterday’s free practice sessions and set the initial benchmark in Q3 after the first round of fast laps with Luke Mossey, Christian Iddon and Richard Cooper in close contention, but a hectic final stage of qualifying saw positions change throughout.
Tarran Mackenzie leapt into second place for the McAMS Yamaha team but then Jake Dixon moved ahead, but in the closing minutes Brookes fired in a faster lap to claim second place and just 0.081s adrift of the pole position.
The battle was on for the final place on the front row, but it was just 0.001s that settled it with Dixon having the edge to push Mackenzie back onto the second row ahead of Leon Haslam and Luke Mossey on the JG Speedfit Kawasakis.
Christian Iddon heads the third row for Tyco BMW ahead of Andrew Irwin who got caught out in the final minute of the session with a crash at Paddock Hill Bend, but he was able to walk away unhurt, with Richard Cooper completing the top nine riders in Q3.
It will be a tough start for Tommy Bridewell on his debut with the Moto Rapido Ducati team; a crash at the start of qualifying saw him out of contention in Q1 and starting from 26th on the grid for tomorrow’s opening race. James Ellison also slid out of contention in Q2, putting the Anvil Hire TAG Yamaha rider 18th on the grid.
Bennetts British Superbike Championship, Brands Hatch, Datatag Qualifying:
- Glenn Irwin (Be Wiser Ducati) 1m:24.628s
- Josh Brookes (McAMS Yamaha) +0.081s
- Jake Dixon (RAF Regular & Reserves Kawasaki) +0.140s
- Tarran Mackenzie (McAMS Yamaha) +0.141s
- Leon Haslam (JG Speedfit Kawasaki) +0.178s
- Luke Mossey (JG Speedfit Kawasaki) +0.505s
- Christian Iddon (Tyco BMW) +0.571s
- Andrew Irwin (Be Wiser Ducati) +0.632s
- Richard Cooper (Buildbase Suzuki) +0.696s
The sixth round of the 2018 Bennetts British Superbike Championship take place at Brands Hatch on July 20/21/22. For more information visit www.britishsuperbike.com
(Be Wiser Ducati)
“I am really, really happy with that! We started the weekend in free practice one and we were really, strong for so early in the weekend and the lap times were coming no matter what lap we were on, and on an old tyre.
“We had a plan for FP2 which then was wet, but we went out and scrubbed in some pads and had a little bit of fun. I went round with Jake and watched him nearly high side himself! I was actually on the front brake as we came out of Clearways and the team were giving me the ‘in’ sign on the board for five laps but I ignored it as I was having a lot of fun!
“I really struggled earlier and I thought ‘was yesterday just one of those days I clicked and today isn’t?’. But we went back to what we knew, back to exactly how we rolled out yesterday morning and fine-tuned it. The guys know you’ve got to do a ’24 to take pole here, the lower the better, and after Q2 there were two areas where I knew that we needed something.
“Fair play to the boys in the garage; they came up with the goods. To be honest the bike was faultless so I’ve got to thank the PBM team.”