Alex Lowes set a scintillating lap to claim his fifth pole start of the season ahead of the Bank Holiday Monday eighth round of the MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship at his home round of Cadwell Park.
The Lincolnshire rider thrilled his legions of fans with a stunning lap as he headed off the challenge of series leading Shane Byrne by over half a second. The Samsung Honda rider believes that the home advantage will be key to his success, boosting both his current third place in the overall standings and also adding to his podium credits score.
After his remarkable lap of 1m 26.708secs, Lowes said: “All of the fans here are worth half a second a lap to me but as good as it is to be on pole, it does not count for anything as the races are what matters tomorrow. I know that they will be hard, but I am going to get a good early night to be ready for them and then will be giving everything.”
Byrne starts his Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki alongside him, but still has work to if he is going to add to his tally of nine wins this season. He said: “We have been chipping away but I still feel like we are a session behind so we have a bit still to do in morning warm up and then it should be good for the races tomorrow, especially as there should be a huge crowd here.”
Both Lowes and Byrne have qualified for the title-deciding Showdown sequence of races but James Ellison has still to make the cut and the Milwaukee Yamaha rider is well placed to claim that this weekend having secured a front row start. Ellison’s position means that three different manufacturers feature on the front row for tomorrow’s opening race.
American PJ Jacobsen heads the second row on his Tyco Suzuki ahead of Halsall Kawasaki’s Tommy Bridewell and Samsung Honda’s three times title winner Ryuichi Kiyonari who needs strong results in these races to ease him into the Showdown.
Aussie Josh Brookes who currently holds second in the standings will start from the third row of the grid after he crashed out unhurt at Barn in the final qualifying session.
Brookes said: “We’ve gone away from the normal strategy this weekend and are trying a few things, but to fall off was just me trying hard. You get to the final qualifying and I wanted to try as hard as I could and I just pushed the front. It was never going to be an amazing lap but it was definitely one of the best laps that I’d been on. I’m not hurt and the bike is not too bad so we should be in good shape for the opening race tomorrow.”
The Buildbase BMW pairing also had a challenging qualifying session as they bid for a position in the top six ahead of the Showdown with James Westmoreland and Jon Kirkham starting eleventh and eighteenth respectively.
Datatag Extreme qualifying:
1: Alex Lowes (Samsung Honda) 1m:26.708s
2: Shane Byrne (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki) +0.652s
3: James Ellison (Milwaukee Yamaha) +1.003s
4: PJ Jacobsen (Tyco Suzuki) +1.026s
5: Tommy Bridewell (Halsall Racing Kawasaki) +1.178s
6: Ryuichi Kiyonari (Samsung Honda) +1.253s