Pole

BSB – in form Dixon claims Thruxton pole

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Jake Dixon claimed pole position for the RAF Reserves Kawasaki team with an inch perfect Superpole qualifying to win the one lap shootout for the first time at the high-speed Thruxton circuit in Hampshire.

The battle had been intense to make the top nine for the final stage of qualifying but first up was John Hopkins who headed out for Superpole with the Moto Rapido Ducati team for the first time this season. The American set a benchmark time of 1m:15.670s, which was slower than his time in Q2.

Jason O’Halloran was next to be released for his flying lap and the Australian fired the Honda Racing Fireblade ahead by 0.171s to hit the top spot with defending champion Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne up next.

The Be Wiser Ducati rider went to the top of the times with his Superpole flying lap, but clearly frustrated, Byrne didn’t stay there for long as his rivals rolled out for their attack on a Superpole time.

Tyco BMW’s Christian Iddon was ready to roll next and he moved ahead of Byrne by 0.413s to become the first rider to dip into the 1m:14s lap times in the final stage of qualifying – something that all nine of the Superpole riders achieved in Q2.

Anvil Hire TAG Yamaha’s Josh Brookes was next and the Australian had been the pace setter in the final free practice session this morning. Brookes fired himself ahead of his rivals by 0.524s with Iddon in second and Byrne in third place.

Smiths Racing BMW’s Peter Hickman has been in contention throughout free practice and he didn’t disappoint in qualifying as he moved second and 0.401s adrift of Brookes who maintained the top position.

The sole JG Speedfit Kawasaki headed out on track in the hands of Leon Haslam as Luke Mossey remains sidelined after his free practice three crash, but it was a disaster for the ‘Pocket Rocket’ as he crashed out at the chicane unhurt leaving him ninth on the grid.

Dixon was the penultimate rider to head out for his flying lap and the RAF Reserves Kawasaki rider kept his cool to launch himself ahead of Brookes and Hickman with only Dan Linfoot left to take on Superpole.

Linfoot’s flying lap put him sixth on the timesheets ahead of tomorrow’s two races at Thruxton.

MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship, Thruxton, Datatag Qualifying result:

1. Jake Dixon (RAF Reserves Kawasaki) 1m:14.052s

2. Josh Brookes (Anvil Hire TAG Yamaha) +0.204s

3. Peter Hickman (Smiths Racing BMW) +0.605s

4. Christian Iddon (Tyco BMW) +0.728s

5. Shane Byrne (Be Wiser Ducati) +1.141s

6. Dan Linfoot (Honda Racing) +1.216s

7. Jason O’Halloran (Honda Racing) +1.387s

8. John Hopkins (Moto Rapido Ducati) +1.618s

9. Leon Haslam (JG Speedfit Kawasaki)

 

MotoGP – Pedrosa takes stunning pole at Barcelona

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Dani Pedrosa delivered an astonishing performance this afternoon in the Catalan sunshine, taking pole position for the second time this year.

Pedrosa started the day by setting the second-fastest time in the FP3 session before going on to top the standings in both FP4 and qualifying. He was the only rider able to crack the 1’44” barrier, setting a 1’43.870 time that earned him his 30th pole in MotoGP and the 48th of his career.

Pedrosa said: “I’m very happy because taking pole is always very difficult, and doing it in front of your home fans is just amazing. Last year we struggled a lot in qualifying, while this season we’ve already earned two poles, so I wish to thank my team for the good work. We’ve worked really hard on this aspect, and we’re getting better and better.

“The conditions were quite difficult today, especially for the tyres as it was very hot and the grip wasn’t the best. We tried to manage the situation as well as possible, working a lot on the setup to improve tyre life. The tyres will be the key to the race tomorrow; it’d be great to have the same feeling from today, but we’ll wait and see. We’ll just remain focused and be prepared to do our best.”

MotoGP – Yamaha locks out front row at dramatic Le Mans qualifying session

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Yamaha factory riders Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi dug deep in a dramatic qualifying session at Le Mans to claim a superb first and second place respectively.

In fact it was a dominant performance for the Japanese manufacturer, with rookie sensation and local hero Johann Zarco piloting his satellite bike to the final place on the front row.

Viñales and Rossi went all out in an intense 15-minute qualifying session at the Le Mans Bugatti Grand Prix race circuit , and having topped FP4, Viñales was one of the last men to leave pit lane, finding some free track space and going directly on the attack. He took the top spot with his first flying lap, a 1’33.134s, before being pushed back to sixth place when the pace quickened.

With more than seven-and-a-half minutes to go, he came into the pits for a fresh set of rubber. Two minutes later the Spaniard was back on track, now in seventh place in the timings, and had just enough time left for three more hot laps. He rose to the challenge and produced a strong 1’32.146s for provisional pole, but further underlined his incredible speed with a 1’31.994s on his next lap, that earned him his second pole position of the season.

Rossi also flexed his muscles during the 15-minute shoot-out. He was quick to head out to make the most of the time available, but decided to let some chasing riders pass at the end of his first hot lap. He moved up to second place on his third attempt, before heading back to the box with six minutes remaining.

The Italian continued his efforts one-and-a-half minutes later, setting another personal best lap that moved him up from fourth to second, despite having to avoid a crash from Jack Miller that happened right in front of him. The Doctor still had some time left for a final push, and improved his time to a 1’32.100s, to keep a strong hold on second place, ahead of Johann Zarco, who made it a full Yamaha front row.

Polesitter Viñales said: “It was a tricky qualifying, because the track was not at its best, but anyway our bike is really good here. We knew we could do it, so I just tried to concentrate and push to the best of my ability and bring home the pole position. We have to be really careful with the weather, we also have to pay a lot of attention if we have a flag to flag, a wet race or even on the dry, we still have to improve. We have to work tonight and try to improve for tomorrow.”

BSB – Ellison on pole at Brands Hatch

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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

BSB –Byrne sets Assen alight with 50th career pole

MCE British Superbike Championship

Be Wiser Ducati

Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne set the fastest ever BSB lap of Assen to claim the 50th pole position of his career, firing his Be Wiser Ducati in front of the JG Speedfit Kawasaki duo of James Ellison and Leon Haslam ahead of tomorrow’s two crucial races.

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.

Byrne said: “I was happy with that lap and to have a 50th pole position in the championship – that’s not a bad number at all! Yesterday we did struggle a bit with the feeling, at the start of the season we would go to a circuit and it wouldn’t matter if we turned the bike upside down or inside out, back to front, we would struggle to get the feeling from the bike. Back in those early races that would put us back in tenth or twelfth or something else.

“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.