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Oulton BSB: Tyre gamble gifts Brookes pole

VisionTrack Ducati’s Josh Brookes claimed pole position for this afternoon’s Bennetts British Superbike Championship race at Oulton Park with a 1’42.198

The Australian’s decision to go with an intermediate rear tyre paid dividends as he topped the leaderboard from championship leader Jason O’Halloran (McAMS Yamaha) by an impressive 1.5s.
Damp conditions again greeted the riders for both Q1 and Q2, Ryan Vickers, Joe Sheldon-Shaw, Rory Skinner, Dan Linfoot, Kyle Ryde and Ryo Mizuno, successfully advancing from the former to the latter. Sheldon-Shaw did particularly well to go through with the second fastest time as he only managed two laps before crashing out.
That meant the iForce Lloyd & Jones BMW team had it all to do to get him back out into Q2 but that was of no concern to the rest of the field with Danny Buchan going quickest after the first flying lap around the 2.69-mile circuit, the times initially some 12s slower than Friday.
Next time around, Tarran Mackenzie, Christian Iddon, Glenn Irwin and Lee Jackson pushed Buchan down to fifth but the Synetiq BMW man responded with a 1’44.196 to go quickest once more. Vickers and Buchan’s team-mate Andrew Irwin were also on the move and slotted into second and third respectively with five minutes to go.
Almost immediately afterwards, Buchan’s charge ended as he lost the front at Shell and crashed out just as rain drops began to fall in sector four. Meanwhile, Brookes had pitted and went back out with an intermediate rear.
His first quick lap put him up to seventh but whilst he was doing that, Vickers was going quickest with a lap of 1’43.766 putting him almost half a second up on the fallen Buchan.
With two minutes remaining, championship leader O’Halloran moved up to third and on his next lap he went quickest with a 1’42.883. However, as he flashed over the line, fellow Showdown contender Tommy Bridewell’s session came to an end as he pushed back in.
Brookes’ decision to go with the intermediate rear looked to be inspired as a 1’42.883 sent him to the top of the leaderboard, eight-tenths of a second quicker than compatriot O’Halloran with just seconds of the session to go.
That was confirmed as the chequered flag came out with the reigning champion shaving three quarters of second of his time and a 1’42.198 put him a massive 1.5s clear of O’Halloran who remained in second from Vickers, the latter bouncing back well from his two crashes on Friday.
Mackenzie, Jackson and Buchan filled out the second row with Iddon, Gino Rea and the Irwin brothers completing the top ten. Bridewell’s technical issue kept him down in 15th and with plenty of work to do later this afternoon.

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