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Sep 22, 2012

Alex Lowes Takes British Superbike Pole Position At Assen

Alex Lowes.


Qualifying, top six:
1:Alex Lowes (WFR Honda) 1m:37.390s
2:Michael Laverty (Samsung Honda) +0.181s
3:Jakub Smrz (Splitlath Redmond Racing) +0.437s
4:Tommy Hill (Swan Yamaha) +0.528s
5:Josh Brookes (Tyco Suzuki) +0.705s
6:Luca Scassa (Padgetts Honda) +0.801s


Alex Lowes is ready to fight for the MCE Insurance British Superbike crown after claiming a historic pole position this afternoon as the series debuts in mainland Europe for the first time this weekend at the legendary Assen circuit.

WFR Honda rider Lowes is determined to reel in the 33 points deficit he has on defending champion Tommy Hill as the Showdown gets underway this weekend. The Lincolnshire young gun set the challenge to his Title Fighter rivals by securing his second pole start of the season after setting a strong pace throughout the opening sessions yesterday.

"I knew my way around having had two days here last year testing with the Ten Kate Honda team so have been able to set my bike up well for the circuit," explained Lowes. "I've been consistent, had a good pace and done a series of good laps and pushed on really hard.

"In terms of the championship I am behind but I am going out there to enjoy it, be consistent, fast and do my best. I am up for the fight," added Lowes who was 0.181secs faster than his Title Fighter rival Michael Laverty riding for Samsung Honda.

Jakub Smrz, who has ridden for much of this season in the World series, marked his debut into MCE BSB by giving the Splitlath Aprila team their first front row start in the championship as he outpaced Swan Yamaha's Hill by a tenth of a second.

Aussie Josh Brookes goes into these races following a double victory in the previous round and is ten points down on Hill. He will start from the second row in fifth, for Tyco Suzuki, while Shane "Shakey" Byrne rode through the pain of a shoulder injury to keep his bid for a record equalling third British title on track in seventh.

Tommy Bridewell, the sixth of the elite Title Fighters, faces an uphill struggle in the races as he will start his Supersonic BMW from the third row of the grid in ninth place.

Visiting and home fans were also given the best example of British Championship quality this afternoon in the Motorpoint British Supersport Sprint race as seven riders fought to win the first race held outside the British Isles. Christian Iddon took the victory ahead of series leader Jack Kennedy who had fought his way through the pack from the back of the grid.

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More, from a press release issued by Swan Yamaha:


Defending champion Tommy Hill will start from the front row of the grid for tomorrow's opening race as the Swan Yamaha rider prepares to try and extend his lead in the MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship at Assen.

Hill had been working hard on chassis and gearing settings and bounced back from yesterday's crash to be in contention for the pole position. In qualifying Hill set a time to put him fourth on the grid before a light rain shower ended his chances of pushing Alex Lowes for the first pole position at the circuit. Noriyuki Haga will start from the fourth row of the grid in fourteenth position.

Hill said: "Every time we have gone out here this weekend we have been making chassis and gearing changes and it is a different feeling here with the bike compared to some of the previous circuits we have raced on. To be honest with the changing conditions I was pretty shocked to have done the time that I did. We have been working with the different tyre options and we had a good pace but the changeable conditions just meant we couldn't push that little bit extra today. We had some in reserve and we want to have a strong race tomorrow."

Haga said: "I am confident on this circuit but today we did not get the right timing to go out on circuit; when we did the rain came and we couldn't push. I also made a mistake by using the same tyre at the start of the session, but tomorrow will be ok for us. We just need to have a good race now."

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More, from a press release issued by Splitlath Redmond Motorsport:

Kuba gets Splitlath Redmond's first ever front row start at Assen

JAKUB 'Kuba' Smrz has given the Splitlath Redmond team its first ever MCE Insurance British Championship front row after qualifying third for tomorrow's opening race at Assen.

The Czech Republic rider who had no previous testing on the team's Aprilia RSV4 machine prior to arriving at the Dutch circuit this weekend starts from third on the grid after a dazzling day at the office.

Kuba's stunning result came just hours after he topped the timesheets in this morning's third free practice session.

He made it easily through to Q2, while team-mate Troy Herfoss also made it into the second session, making this the first time both Splitlath Redmond machines have made it through.

Troy ended the session in 19th spot, while Kuba sailed through to the final shoot-out with ease.

As the session got underway he went straight up to sixth spot, before jumping higher to fourth a minute later then moving up to third on his next lap. By now rain had started to fall and no-one was able to set any faster times, so Kuba had to settle for third.

"I am really happy that we can make this front row together with the Splitlath Redmond team here this weekend," he said. "This is not my first front row here but it is the first one for the team and this is good.

"I have not ridden this bike before, it is maybe two years since I rode an Aprilia and because of the different rules here in BSB, this bike is completely different to any I have ridden before.

"We had a few little problems early on with set-up but all the guys have done a really great job and I think we are all pretty happy to be on the front row.

"I am looking forward to getting mixed up with the guys at the front. They have all got a championship to fight for but I do not. It is not my problem so I am happy to fight with them if I have to out there. I think we shall see tomorrow!"

Herfoss meanwhile admitted he wasn't too pleased with his 19th spot, but said it was good news that he was clearly improving.

"Yeah I'm never going to be happy with 19th, but it's a step up from where we qualified at Donington Park two weeks ago," he said. "This is a tough championship and the Aprilia is a difficult bike to get used to but we're moving in the right direction.

"Tomorrow I want to get a good start and then look to moving forward as much as I can so we can get some good points and a better qualifying place for tomorrow's second race. I will certainly be giving it my best shot."

Team co-owner John Dimbylow added: "This has been the perfect day for us all, and is a testament to the hard work, long hours and sheer determination of the whole team.

"Kuba has brought a whole new dynamic to the squad and has done an incredible job today. This is a really big jump in the right direction for us, and it's fantastic to see the Splitlath Redmond Aprilia back up at the front something Mark Aitchison was able to achieve before his accident at Cadwell.

"It's going to be an exciting day tomorrow and I'd like to congratulate Kuba, Troy and everyone in the Splitlath family for their dedication and commitment which has got us where we are here today."
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