Alex Lowes threw down the gauntlet to his rivals by scorching at record-breaking pace to his third pole start of the MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship at a sun-drenched Snetterton ahead of tomorrow’s fifth round.
The Samsung Honda rider tacked his rivals to set a stunning lap in a time of 1m 48.106s, to break the challenge of the series leader Shane Byrne, riding the Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki by just a third of a second.
Lowes who heads into the races tomorrow in third place in the standings, said: “It may not have looked like it but this has been my most difficult round of the season to far; in free practice we had a few concerns, but we have been trying in every session.
“I just hope that it all pays off now in the races, and I am happy enough with that lap after the nightmare day we had on Friday. All I can do now is give my all in these races and work as hard as I can,” added Lowes who is keen to close the 36 points deficit to Byrne.
Aussie Josh Brookes, who goes into these races trailing Byrne by 30 points, underlined his determination to add to his tally of four consecutive podium finishes, to secure a front row start for his Tyco Suzuki team with a time marginally faster than seven-time Snetterton race winner Ryuichi Kiyonari.
The Japanese rider continued to close the gap to the leaders on the second Samsung Honda and is now aiming to improve on his best results of the season so far, a pair of thirds last time out at Knockhill, to put his hopes of taking the British crown for a record fourth time firmly back on track.
James Ellison starts his Milwaukee Yamaha from the second row in fifth, ahead of Quattro Plant Kawasaki’s Chris Walker, Tommy Bridewell on the Bathams Honda and Jakub Smrz riding for Padgetts Honda. The Buildbase BMW pair of Jon Kirkham and James Westmoreland complete the top ten.
MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship – Datatag Extreme qualifying:
1:Alex Lowes (Samsung Honda) 1m:48.106s
2:Shane Byrne (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki) +0.387s
3:Josh Brookes (Tyco Suzuki) +0.966s
4:Ryuichi Kiyonari (Samsung Honda) +0.984s
5:James Ellison (Milwaukee Yamaha) +1.177s
6:Chris Walker (Quattro Plant Bournemouth Kawasaki) +1.212s