Christian Iddon mastered the tricky conditions in the Bennetts British Superbike Championship qualifying session at Snetterton on Saturday, the Buildbase Suzuki rider taking pole position ahead of Kyle Ryde (Rich Energy OMG Racing Yamaha) and Tommy Bridewell (Oxford Products Ducati).
But there was disappointment for both Jason O’Halloran (McAMS Yamaha) and Leon Haslam (VisionTrack Kawasaki) who both failed to make it out of Q1.
With light rain beginning to fall again just as the Q1 session started, riders were greeted with an extremely slick surface and Tom Neave and Leon Jeacock were early fallers in the treacherous conditions, Iddon eventually setting the fastest lap time at 1’54.591s.
However, with positions, and conditions, changing all the time, O’Halloran and Haslam were big casualties and failed to advance to Q2, Takumi Takahashi, Chrissy Rouse, Dean Harrison, Danny Kent and Luke Mossey advancing with Iddon.
Wet tyres gave way to slick tyres for Q2 but after three minutes the red flag was out due to a blow up and crash for Kent and whilst the clean-up was taking place, the heavens opened. It ultimately led to a delay of almost 30 minutes with the session re-started over the full 12 minutes.
Some of the track had already begun to dry, primarily in the first sector, but others remained wet and it was Iddon who went quickest on the first flying lap, a time of 2’12.085s putting him three tenths of a second quicker than Rory Skinner (Cheshire Mouldings FS-3 Kawasaki).
The latter fell on his next lap with Tom Sykes going quickest with a lap of 2’12.013s before he too went down, the MCE Ducati man having a nasty highside. The tricky conditions were further highlighted with Skinner’s team-mate Lee Jackson also crashing.
Iddon reasserted himself at the top of the leaderboard with a lap of 2’08.261s putting him two tenths ahead of Bridewell with reigning champion Tarran Mackenzie (McAMS Yamaha) slotting into third albeit 1.7s further back.
As expected, times began to drop on each and every lap, Iddon and Bridewell reducing their lap times by almost two seconds next time around with Ryde, championship leader Bradley Ray, Glenn Irwin (Honda Racing) and Mackenzie now the running order behind. Ray then crashed at turn seven with Andrew Irwin (Synetiq BMW) another faller.
Ryde moved into second, just over a tenth behind Iddon, and Glenn Irwin pushed Ray back down to fifth but they were the only changes to the top six in the closing stages and so Iddon duly claimed his first pole position of the season.
Behind Mackenzie in sixth, Takahashi claimed seventh ahead of the fallen Sykes and Peter Hickman with Skinner only dropping back to tenth despite his early crash.