Alex Lowes scorched his Samsung Honda to pole position for the Bank Holiday Monday third round of the MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship at Oulton Park as he set the fastest lap of the Cheshire circuit since the change in technical regulations.
Lowes had been on the pace across the weekend but he slashed the time when it mattered most to power ahead of triple champion and current series leader Shane Byrne aboard the Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki to take his second consecutive pole start.
“That was a pretty good lap although I never expected to be able to set a time in the 34s – that is a credit to how well the bike works,” said Lowes after his stunning lap time of 1m 34.834s.
“I am feeling good for the races, tyre life is good, the bike is fantastic, so now it is down to me but there will be nothing easy out there with so many good riders,” added Lowes who has finished all four races so far in the top three.
Byrne is determined to hit back in the races after missing out on the pole position, he said: “I’m not here to finish second – we have done a lot of work this weekend so we are ready for the races. That was probably one of my fastest laps around here and I couldn’t believe it when I saw P2 on my pit board.”
Aussie Josh Brookes set the third fastest time while Keith Farmer claimed his first front row start in his rookie season for the Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki team. Jon Kirkham was fifth fastest on the Buildbase BMW, marginally faster than the winner of the corresponding round of last year, Chris Walker aboard the Quattro Plant Kawasaki.
But there was no luck for Bathams Honda rider Michael Rutter who starts his 400th race from the fifth row of the grid having been dogged throughout qualifying by machine problems. Milwaukee Yamaha’s James Ellison was also left disappointed after he was unable to set a time in the final qualifying session with a technical issue after setting the pace in the earlier free practice today.
Datatag Extreme Qualifying for Race one:
1: Alex Lowes (Samsung Honda) 1m:34.884s
2: Shane Byrne (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki) +0.460s
3: Josh Brookes (Tyco Suzuki) +0.900s
4: Keith Farmer (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki) +1.130s
5: Jon Kirkham (Buildbase BMW) +1.142s
6: Chris Walker (Quattro Plant Bournemouth Kawasaki) +1.214s
7: Tommy Bridewell (Bathams Honda) +1.326s
8: Peter Hickman (Lloyds British GBmoto Honda) +1.786s
9: Karl Harris (PR Racing Kawasaki) +2.346s
10: James Ellison (Milwaukee Yamaha)