Tommy Hill 1'15.260
Ian Lowry 1'15.735
Michael Rutter 1'15.864
Swan Yamaha's Tommy Hill has blitzed the British Superbike field in qualifying this afternoon to bag pole position for tomorrow's Thruxton double-header, going half a second faster than Ian Lowry's Padgett's Honda - and it is the first time the little Irishman has been on a BSB front row.
Hill went round in a 1'15.260 which compares favourably to Leon Camier's fastest lap from 2009 of a 1'14.913 set with a full FIM-spec Superbike engine and top-spec Magneti Marelli electronics. Lowry, meanwhile, did a 1'15.735 while veteran Rutter managed a 1'15.864. Hill was riding without ear-plugs and was contemplating pitting in because of the noise.
"The noise was deafening and I was very close to coming in. I have a bit of a headache coming on and I will be hearing the bike all night now. At the start it was a bit of a do or die effort but we had to get the job done and this is the good start I needed to finally put the memories of the first round behind me," said Hill.
WFR Honda's James Westmoreland completed the front row of the grid and was less than tenth slower than the Bathams Kawasaki man. Chris Walker, another BSB old hand, was fifth on his Primo Kawasaki with Luca Scassa sixth, Josh Brookes seventh and Alex Lowes in eighth. Jon Kirkham and Patric Muff completed the top ten.
Tommy Hill 1'16.470
Michael Rutter 1'16.10
Ian Lowry 1'16.630
Title contender Shane Byrne got his timing wrong and rolled out of pitlane without enough time to get back to the line before the chequered flag came out so was eliminated along with Noriyuki Haga, on the Swan Yamaha and Alastair Seeley, who was fastest in the wet this morning.
Hill took top spot with his final lap while Rutter jumped into second place just after the chequered flag came out. Lowry bagged third and Westmoreland fourth. Muff was the last man to make it through.
Luca Scassa 1'20.24
Noriyuki Haga 1'20.357
Michael Rutter 1'20.728
On a drying track, Scassa nicked top spot from Haga with only a minute left of the first session with Rutter putting his vast experience to good use in the tricky conditions to bag third place an just ahead of Kirkham.
PBM Kawasaki's Stuart Easton was just knocked into the relegation zone by Smart, who leaped from 23rd to 17th with his final lap while Brookes was very close to not making it through but his last circulation was just good enough to make the top 20.