James Ellison – 1’54.027
Leon Haslam – 1’54.109
Christian Iddon – 1’54.188
McAMS Yamaha’s James Ellison will start the opening MCE British Superbike race on pole position, as he stormed through the rain puddles to take the number one grid spot, during a very wet final qualifying session at Assen.
But only one showdown rider made it all the way to Q3, and that was JG Speedfit Kawasaki’s Leon Haslam. On his last lap the Smalley racer went second with a 1’54.109 and was only one tenth shy off the best time of Ellison, who put down a quick 1’54.027.
Joining the pair on the front row is the rider who was fastest in FP3, and that was Tyco BMW’s Christian Iddon. Honda Racing’s Dan Linfoot slipped back to the second row as Haslam went from sixth to P2 on his final rotation.
Also on row two was rookie, Bradley Ray and American superstar John Hopkins on the Moto Rapido Ducati. Wildcard rider, Tyco BMW’s Josh Elliott was up the sharp end with his pace but crashed unhurt at Stekkenwal. McAMS Yamaha’s Michael Laverty looked set to emulate his team-mate in terms of a front row start, but he fell in the same spot as Elliott and remained ninth.
Leon Haslam – 1’54.080
Michael Laverty – 1’54.992
Dan Linfoot – 1’55.147
Title fighter Be Wiser Ducati’s Shane Byrne had a fast crash at Duikersloot but he did manage to remount the Panigale. He was eighth when he went into the gravel but slipped back to tenth with four minutes remaining.
But his crew were able to get his bike back out on track, only for Byrne to crash on the out-lap and he was unable to improve on his time and remained in the drop zone. Byrne was not the only showdown rider who failed to progress in the very wet conditions as Josh Brookes, Jake Dixon and Jason O’Halloran could not match the pace of Haslam.
So it was the JG Speedfit Kawasaki bike that made it all the way to the provisional number one spot on the grid with a 1’54.080, giving him an advantage going into race one on Sunday. Laverty set a solid pace in Q2 and was just pipped by Haslam to go P2, with Linfoot getting the best out of the Fireblade to go third fastest.
Richard Cooper is wildcarding at the event on the Bennetts Suzuki and was 12th fastest but crashed at Madijk. Joining the Pirelli National Superstock 1000 regular in the elimination spots were Jackson, Smrz and Buchan. Byrne will start the opening race in 17th, with Brookes and Dixon sharing the fourth row. O’Halloran will line up at the end of row five, with Byrne on row six for the first of the double-header races tomorrow.
Leon Haslam – 1’55.505
James Westmoreland – 1’55.796
Christian Iddon – 1’55.848
Haslam only put down four laps in the wet this morning in FP3, but that appeared to be more than enough as he went quickest in Q1 with a 1’55.505. Westmoreland was also another racer who excelled in the wet and placed his Gearlink Kawasaki on the provisional front row, with Iddon third fastest.
There were a few fallers during the opening qualifying session. The first to tumble in the wet was showdown rider, Peter Hickman. He fell at Strubben and was declared OK at the trackside. Riders Cup contender, Luke Mossey crashed at Duikersloot and even though he walked away from the track he did look like he was in pain.
Hickman was able to make it back on track with two minutes left, but he failed to go faster than Cooper and will have to start from P19 on the grid for race one. He was the only showdown contender in the drop zone.
But Hickman and Mossey were not the only one’s to crash in the rain. Bridewell and Mackenzie fell on the same lap, with the Bennetts Suzuki rider taken to the medical centre for further assessment. Mackenzie and Bridewell remained in the elimination spots, as did Irwin, Jessopp, Harrison, Zanotti and the crocked Winfield.