Christian Iddon had been one of the first riders to set a time, but the Tyco BMW rider then headed into the gravel before rejoining and trying to improve, but with an incredibly tight pack and the top seven riders under the existing lap record, he will start ninth on the grid.
Byrne then moved to the top of the times as Ellison hunted him down, but the championship leader continued to up the pace and then fired in an incredible lap that kept his rivals at bay. Ellison was also coming under attack from his team-mate Haslam, but at the chequered flag it was enough to hold the narrow advantage.
“Yesterday the feeling was the same as that, but it showed the progress we have made since then especially as this is such an important part of the season. The team worked hard to make changes and now it works much better and I felt much more confident this afternoon, now we need to see what we can do tomorrow.”
Luke Mossey heads the second row for Quattro Plant Teccare Kawasaki; the Cambridge-based rider saving his best run until the end of the Q3 session due to a threatening rain shower, to hold off the Honda Racing pairing of Jason O’Halloran and Dan Linfoot.
Linfoot was pushing to move ahead and he crashed out of the final session unhurt, however he still held onto the second row start ahead of Richard Cooper and Broc Parkes for the ePayMe Yamaha team.