Glenn Irwin claimed pole position for this afternoon’s Bennetts British Superbike Championship race at Brands Hatch, the Honda Racing rider getting the better of Peter Hickman (FHO Racing BMW) and Tommy Bridewell (Oxford Products Ducati) in a rain-interrupted session.
That was the ideal place for both Irwin and Bridewell given their championship hopes, as slim as they may be, but most of the leading contenders only managed one flying lap before the rain began to fall with championship elect Bradley Ray, who only needs to take seventh place in today’s race to be crowned champion, taking sixth place on his Rich Energy OMG Racing Yamaha.
A high-calibre Q1 got proceedings underway, and the 12-minute session saw Ray’s teammate Kyle Ryde lead the way with a 1’25.629 and he duly advanced to Q2 along with Leon Haslam (VisionTrack Kawasaki), Tom Sykes (MCE Ducati), Jack Kennedy (Mar-Train Racing Yamaha) and the Honda pairing of Tom Neave and Ryo Mizuno.
Spots of rain began to fall ahead of Q2 but after a slight delay, all riders went out on slicks and Hickman was the first to show at the top of the leaderboard, a time of 1’25.199 putting him 0.107s ahead of Ryde with Danny Buchan (Synetiq BMW), Ray, Andrew Irwin on the second Synetiq machine and Bridewell the top six.
Glenn Irwin then put in a 1’25.168s to go 0.031s quicker than Hickman with Bridewell moving up three places to third with the rain flag being displayed shortly afterwards.
That proved to be it with all the riders returning to the pitlane and the front row for the afternoon’s race will comprise Irwin, Hickman and Bridewell with Ryde, Buchan and Ray lining up on row two.
Andrew Irwin, Jason O’Halloran (McAMS Yamaha), Josh Brookes (MCE Ducati) and Danny Kent (Buildbase Suzuki) completed the top ten with Sykes and Haslam back in 13th and 14th respectively. However, O’Halloran has a three-place grid penalty for nerfing Tom Sykes at Oulton.