The first British Superbike Championship qualifying session of 2019 got underway in vastly contrasting conditions to the corresponding session of 2018, with glorious sunshine baking the Northamptonshire asphalt.
Tarran Mackenzie (McAMS Yamaha) claimed his first ever BSB pole in what was a McAMS Yamaha 1-2, with teammate Jason O’Halloran taking second. Both riders have looked evenly matched throughout the weekend and so it was not a surprise to see the pair heading up the grid, although that no doubt did not detract from the delight of both riders and team.
? NEWS: McAMS Yamaha go 1-2 in qualifying at Silverstone
— McAMS Yamaha (@McAMSYamaha) April 20, 2019
Scott Redding (Be Wiser Ducati) took his first BSB front row in his first BSB qualifying with his first competitive outing on the brand new Ducati Panigale V4R. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the multiple Grand Prix winner was aiming for pole position, but will be content enough with a front row. We have seen in WorldSBK that the V4R is able to save the tyre quite well, so if Redding can make a good start and have a clean race, the #45 could present a large threat in the closing stages.
Perhaps the star of this first BSB qualifying of the season was Josh Elliott (OMG Racing Suzuki) who set the fourth-fastest time in the first qualifying of his first full season of BSB. The 2015 National Superstock 1000 champion is joined on row two by his OMG Racing Suzuki teammate Luke Mossey and the third Yamaha of Dan Linfoot (Santander Salt TAG Yamaha).
Heading up row three tomorrow will be Tommy Bridewell (Oxford Racing). Christian Iddon (Tyco BMW Motorrad) is the top BMW on the grid in eighth, whilst BSB rookie Luke Stapleford impressively starts ninth tomorrow on his debut for Buildbase Suzuki.
The first rider to not make Q2 was Andrew Irwin (Honda Racing), who will start eleventh tomorrow, ahead of his Honda Racing teammate Xavi Fores and the impressive rookie, Claudio Corti (Team WD40) who was the top Kawasaki in twelfth.
Three ZX-10RRs follow Corti and make up row five, with Ryan Vickers (RAF Regular and Reserves Kawasaki) an impressive thirteenth on his BSB debut, ahead of Danny Buchan (FS-3 Racing Kawasaki) and Glenn Irwin (Quattro Plant JG Speedfit Kawasaki).
As Buchan and Irwin will be disappointed with their respective fourteenth and fifteenth places, Bradley Ray (Buildbase Suzuki) will be disappointed with his sixteenth place. David Allingham (EHA Yamaha) lines up seventeenth tomorrow, whilst Josh Brookes (Be Wiser Ducati) was limited to eighteenth thanks to a mechanical problem in Q1.
Ben Currie (Quattro Plant JG Speedfit Kawasaki) qualified nineteenth on his BSB debut, missing out on Q2 by just 0.007 seconds. The BMWs of Keith Farmer (Tyco BMW Motorrad) and Peter Hickman (Smiths Racing) complete the seventh row.
Sylvain Barrier (Brixx Ducati), together with Matt Truelove (Raceways Yamaha) and Joe Francis (Lloyd and Jones Bowker Motorrad) make up row eight; Shaun Winfield (Santander Salt TAG Yamaha) heads up James Ellison (Smiths Racing) – who like Brookes suffered a mechanical in Q1 – and Dean Harrison (Silicone Engineering Racing) on the ninth row.
Fraser Rogers (Gearlink Kawasaki) will start twenty-eighth tomorrow, ahead of Dean Hipwell (CDH Racing) and James Hillier (Quattro Plant JG Speedfit Kawasaki) on row ten; and the final two spots on the grid on row eleven will be taken up by Sam Coventry (Team 64 Motorsports) in thirty-first and Conor Cummins (Milenco by Padgetts Motorcycles) in thirty-second.