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Byrne scorches to best ever lap at Brands Hatch

Sunday, April 24 2011

Shane 'Shakey' Byrne set a blistering pace in the heat at Brands Hatch this afternoon to set the first pole position of the 2011 MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship season, setting the fastest ever lap of the Indy circuit ahead of team-mate Ryuichi Kiyonari.

Byrne said: "That was a great lap. I started Q3 on a used tyre and did a 45.5s lap but then I saw what Kiyo had done and I couldn't believe it, he needs to slow down a bit! I wanted a front row start but then I saw what Kiyo did and just went for it with a new tyre. I went out and did a 45.1s and then I tried to get into the 44s but just couldn't quite get there. That was a great session though and all credit to the HM Plant Honda team."

Loris Baz and Tommy Hill had a short spell at the top of the times in Q1 but it was Shane 'Shakey' Byrne that topped the first qualifying session with a time of 45.540s ahead of Tommy Hill by 0.020s. Dan Linfoot had an impressive lap to move third on the Sorrymate.com Honda ahead of John Hopkins and Ryuichi Kiyonari.

The fight for the final places in qualifying two were closely fought Steve Brogan on the Jentin Honda, Stuart Easton on the MSS Colchester Kawasaki and Tommy Bridewell were all fighting for the place, with Easton moving up the order in the dying seconds to move into Q2. The riders out after the first session included Alex Lowes, Brogan, Ian Lowry and Guy Martin as the top 27 riders were separated by less than a second.

The second qualifying session got off to a flying start as Kiyonari lapped under record pace with a time of 45.389s, but it wasn't long until his HM Plant Honda team-mate upped his speed and went even faster with a time of 45.301s. The Swan Yamaha's were then running third and fourth with Hill and Michael Laverty respectively as Jon Kirkham rounded out the top five.

There was plenty of drama in Q2 as Samsung Crescent Racing's John Hopkins got knocked down to eleventh in the final seconds as Tommy Bridewell just edged through to the top ten for qualifying three on the Tyco Honda. Josh Brookes also suffered disappointment and will start from the fourth row of the grid for tomorrow's opening race as he could only set a time fast enough for 13th on the Relentless Suzuki.

The battle for pole position was between the HM Plant Honda team-mates as Kiyonari topped the times, running under the lap record but Byrne was on the attack and twice bettered the time to edge out his team-mate by 0.080s. The Swan Yamaha's of Laverty and Hill complete the front row as Baz leads row two for tomorrow opening race.

MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship, Brands Hatch, qualifying result:
1. Shane Byrne (HM Plant Honda) 45.112s
2. Ryuichi Kiyonari (HM Plant Honda) +0.080s
3. Michael Laverty (Swan Yamaha) +0.168s
4. Tommy Hill (Swan Yamaha) +0.212s
5. Loris Baz (Motorpoint Yamaha) +0.408s
6. Michael Rutter (Rapid Solicitors-Bathams Ducati) +0.494s
7. Jon Kirkham (Samsung Crescent Racing) +0.515s
8. Tommy Bridewell (Tyco Honda) +0.703s
9. James Westmoreland (Motorpoint Yamaha) +0.780S
10. Stuart Easton (MSS Colchester Kawasaki) +0.947s

You can still purchase tickets for the Brands Hatch Easter opener of the MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship this weekend (22-25 April) on the gate with raceday adult admission £30, children 12 and under go free. For further ticket information visit call 0843 453 9000 or click the link below.