James Ellison claimed pole position for the second round of the British Superbike Championship at Brands Hatch as the McAMS Yamaha rider obliterated the lap record, holding off Luke Mossey by 0.203s with Leon Haslam completing the front row.
An incredibly close final session of qualifying started with Leon Haslam coming straight out on track first; the JG Speedfit Kawasaki rider setting the first 44 second lap of the weekend to set the benchmark for his rivals.
Luke Mossey had been the fastest rider on circuit this morning and the JG Speedfit Kawasaki rider then posted his best lap of the weekend; pushing Haslam back into second, but as he crossed the line Ellison was a on a flier and he grabbed the top position.
Ellison said: “I am so happy to be on pole position. We had been struggling a bit in sector one and I knew that was where Luke was strong, but then it was the opposite between us in the final sector.
“We made some changes and I was then able to get closer to Luke. I knew he was the danger man for one lap and race distance and I think we have found a good setting on both tyre combinations now, so I am feeling confident.
“It will be tough and I am going to have to stick my neck out, but that’s how the championship is this year. I don’t want Leon to beat me this time as it was so close last year! I am looking forward to a good battle in the races tomorrow.”
It wasn’t such a good day for reigning champion Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne who was pushing to put himself on the front row; however despite his best attempts he will head the second row, just 0.097s adrift off Haslam’s time. He will be joined by fellow Ducati rider John Hopkins; the American still overcoming his broken toes from Donington Park to set the fifth fastest time.
Jason O’Halloran fired the Honda Racing Fireblade into the top six as he pushed Christian Iddon back onto row three ahead of Josh Brookes and Michael Laverty.
MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship, Brands Hatch, Datatag Qualifying:
01) James Ellison (McAMS Yamaha) 44.728s
02) Luke Mossey (JG Speedfit Kawasaki) +0.203s
03) Leon Haslam (JG Speedfit Kawasaki) +0.205s
04) Shane Byrne (Be Wiser Ducati) +0.302s
05) John Hopkins (Moto Rapido Ducati) +0.316s
06) Jason O’Halloran (Honda Racing) +0.392s
07) Christian Iddon (Tyco BMW) +0.454s
08) Josh Brookes (Anvil Hire TAG Yamaha) +0.656s
09) Michael Laverty (McAMS Yamaha) +0.755s