McAMS Yamaha’s Jason O’Halloran’s strong run of form continued at Thruxton on Saturday with pole position for this afternoon’s Bennetts British Superbike Championship Sprint race.
The Australian claimed the only sub 1’14s lap – the second quickest ever at the circuit – sealing him the session 0.356s clear of Peter Hickman (FHO Racing BMW) with Andrew Irwin completing the front row on his Synetiq BMW.
Despite being ill, it was the latter who posted the quickest time in Q1 at 1’14.606s and he advanced into Q2 along with Luke Mossey, Chrissy Rouse, Rory Skinner, Ryo Mizuno and Christian Iddon and it was Irwin who set the pace in the early stages of Q2 with a quicker lap of 1’14.404s.
O’Halloran knocked Irwin off the top spot with a 1’14.337s as the top ten riders all lapped in the 1’14s bracket and Glenn Irwin (Honda Racing) moved into third with a 1’14.461s but all eyes were on O’Halloran as he upped the pace to a 1’13.942s, almost half a second quicker, at the time, than the rest of the field.
Bradley Ray (Rich Energy OMG Racing Yamaha), reigning champion Tarran Mackenzie (McAMS Yamaha) and Lee Jackson (Cheshire Mouldings FS-3 Kawasaki) ran in fourth to sixth but VisionTrack Kawasaki’s Leon Haslam was unable to get close to his time in the FP3 session earlier in the day and was down in 14th with just four minutes to go. Hickman was even worse off at the bottom of the pile but a first flying lap of 1’14.298s rocketed him up the leaderboard to second.
With the track temperature at 44 degrees, O’Halloran’s time remained untouched and he duly claimed his third pole position of the season and will be joined on the front row for this afternoon’s race by Hickman and Andrew Irwin.
Glenn Irwin, Ray and Mackenzie form the second row with Jackson, Kyle Ryde, Mossey and Danny Kent completing the top ten and although a second covered the top 14 riders, it was Haslam, Tommy Bridewell (Oxford Products Ducati) and Tom Sykes (MCE Ducati) who were back in 13th to 15th respectively with Christian Iddon another big name down the order in 17th.
Danny Buchan found himself back in 20th on the second Synetiq BMW whilst Josh Brookes’ torrid weekend continued with the former double champion posting a best lap of 1’16.150s to line up in 26th on the second MCE Ducati for this afternoon’s race.
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