2011 British Superbike
Tommy Hill erased any lingering memories of his costly error in the final round of last year’s MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship at Oulton Park as he scorched his Swan Yamaha inside the lap record to claim the pole start for the Bank Holiday Monday round of the series at the Cheshire circuit.
Hill leads the early season title stakes by four points after a second place and a Superbike victory in the opening round. He had been consistently fast across free practice and increased the pace with a best lap of 1m 35.175secs to top the time sheets, 0.281secs ahead of his team-mate Michael Laverty.
Hill had been well placed to take the British Superbike title for the first time in his career, but a tumble in the final round cost him the chance, but he says that is behind him.
Tommy Hill (SWAN Yamaha YZF-R1) says: “I’ve forgotten about that. People ask if going into Lodge Corner comes back to haunt me, but it does not. I made a mistake and that was that. Now it is time to move on.
“In fact Oulton Park is my favourite circuit but now I have to concentrate on turning this pole into race wins. Things are looking good. I have been consistent across the weekend so far and now I have to get the job done in the races,” added Hill.
Laverty who took a race victory at the circuit last year held off the late challenge of former MotoGP rider John Hopkins who moved his Samsung Crescent Suzuki into third place on the time-sheets on the final lap. That put him a split second ahead of French teenager Loris Baz riding for the Motorpoint Yamaha team to take his first front row start in the series.
Josh Brookes, with a lap in 1m 35.980secs, headed up the second row for the Relentless Suzuki British Superbike team, from Flying Scot Stuart Easton, a race winner in the corresponding round of last season. The winner of the opening race at Brands Hatch, Shane Byrne aboard the HM Plant Honda was seventh fastest ahead of James Westmoreland riding the Motorpoint Yamaha.
Ryuichi Kiyonari, who clinched his third British Superbike title with a winning hat-trick at the circuit last October, faces an uphill struggle, starting from the third row in ninth, with Michael Rutter riding the Rapid Solicitors-Bathams Ducati alongside, just faster than Sorrymate.com Honda’s Dan Linfoot.
Alex Lowes, the joint leader in the Mirror.co.uk BSB-EVO class completes the third row for the WFR Honda British Superbike team, though the Lincolnshire rider was only 0.052secs faster than his team-mate and title rival Glen Richards, with PR Kawasaki’s Simon Andrews third fastest in class.
2011 British Superbike: Oulton Park Qualifying – top six times:
1.Tommy Hill (Swan Yamaha) 1m:35.175s
2.Michael Laverty (Swan Yamaha) +0.291s
3.John Hopkins (Samsung Crescent Racing) +0.628s
4.Loris Baz (Motorpoint Yamaha) +0.663s
5.Josh Brookes (Relentless Suzuki) +0.805s
6.Stuart Easton (MSS Colchester Kawasaki) +