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Hill powers to pole in the park

Sunday, May 01 2011

Swan Yamaha's Tommy Hill will start from pole position for tomorrow's opening race of the MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship round at Oulton Park after a frantic final qualifying session this afternoon.

In the first qualifying session Michael Laverty topped the times as he edged ahead of Tommy Hill who had set the early pace. Stuart Easton had been fastest with just over ten minutes remaining of the session but he settled into third in the closing stages ahead of Dan Linfoot and Alex Lowes who had an impressive performance in fifth on the Evo specification WFR Honda. Samsung Crescent Racing's Jon Kirkham returned to the track after his crash during free practice to end the opening session in fifth as team-mate John Hopkins ran 13th.

The tension continued to build as the second qualifying session got underway. Hill once again topped the times from Easton and Laverty whilst Hopkins set the fourth fastest time to make it through to the final qualifying stage after missing out at Brands Hatch. Kirkham though was knocked out after the second stage as he qualified 16th whilst Gary Mason also missed out despite a promising start to the weekend in free practice.

The final minutes of qualifying two once again produced drama as Josh Brookes looked set to miss out again on qualifying three on the Relentless Suzuki, but his last lap put him back in tenth place, displacing Loris Baz. However Baz was on another flying lap and he moved seventh in the final seconds putting Linfoot out of the final shootout for pole in eleventh.

In the final session Hill again asserted his authority to top the times ahead of team-mate Laverty on the second Swan Yamaha whilst Hopkins leapt up the order in the final seconds to secure his first front row start of the season with Baz completing the front row. Brookes and Easton head the second row in fifth and sixth whilst HM Plant Honda's Byrne will start seventh ahead of Westmoreland in eighth. It was a challenging session for Ryuichi Kiyonari who will start from ninth for the opening race.

Hill said: "Everybody is pushing so hard out there and this is an aggressive track so we have been happy with the pace we have shown already and to qualify on pole is another great result for the Swan Yamaha team. We have been consistent and now we just have to look at the race tomorrow and get the elbows out and just go for those wins and podium credits! We are feeling confident and we are aiming for two podiums tomorrow again; it wont be easy but we just need to get stuck in, get to the front and stay there."

MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship, Oulton Park, qualifying result:

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) +0.956s
7. Shane Byrne (HM Plant Honda) +1.211s
8. James Westmoreland (Motorpoint Yamaha) +1.213S
9. Ryuichi Kiyonari (HM Plant Honda) +1.374s
10. Michael Rutter (Rapid Solicitors-Bathams Ducati) +1.395s

You can purchase tickets for the Oulton Park round of the MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship this weekend on the gate with adult admission £30 on Monday, children 12 and under go free. For further ticket information click the link below or call 0843 453 9000