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Jul 20, 2013

Byrne Earns MCE British Superbike Pole Position At Brands Hatch

MCE British Superbike Championship: Shane Byrne (67).
Round 6 Brands Hatch Grand Prix 20-21 July


Datatag Extreme Qualifying:
1. Shane Byrne (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki) 1m:25.672s
2. Alex Lowes (Samsung Honda) +0.123s
3. Josh Brookes (Tyco Suzuki) +0.169s
4. Ryuichi Kiyonari (Samsung Honda)+0.284s
5. James Ellison (Milwaukee Yamaha) +0.327s
6. James Westmoreland (Buildbase BMW) +0.370s


Local hero Shane “Shakey” Byrne saved his best until last at Brands Hatch today to score pole position for the sixth round of the MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship having out-gunned the pretender to his crown, Alex Lowes.

Byrne has won each of his last seven races on the Grand Prix circuit and is aiming to become the first rider in the championship to reach 50 victories tomorrow in front of his home crowd but Lowes pushed him all the way in the final qualifying session.

Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki rider Byrne said: “I love this circuit and the crowd here and to take pole was a great result for me. I need two good results tomorrow and if I can make that a double and move to 50 wins then that would be fantastic but there are lot of guys out there who will be pushing hard in the races. If we work hard again in warm up tomorrow then fingers crossed we can be up there at the front at the end of the day.”

Lowes will be aiming to spoil the party for Byrne, having run only 0.123s down to start alongside him at the front of the grid with his Samsung Honda team-mate Ryuichi Kiyonari continuing his recent upturn in fortune to set the fourth best time. The triple champion was narrowly edged out for third by Aussie Josh Brookes on the Tyco Suzuki, who is chasing a first win of the season.

Milwaukee Yamaha rider James Ellison heads the second row ahead of James Westmoreland on the Buildbase BMW, Chris Walker aboard the Quattro Plant Kawasaki and PJ Jacobsen on the second Tyco Suzuki, who overcame technical issues on his debut on the Grand Prix circuit.

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More, from a press release issued by Team Suzuki News Service:


Josh Brookes and PJ Jacobsen will start from rows one and two in tomorrow's opening British Superbike Championship encounter at the sixth-round Brands Hatch GP in Kent.

Brookes topped the opening two qualifying sessions aboard his Tyco Suzuki GSX-R1000 and eventually slotted into third place in Q3 as Jacobsen overcame his free practice struggles to finish in a very strong eighth place.

Taylor Mackenzie posted his strongest qualifying to date in the British Supersport class, putting his Tyco Suzuki GSX-R600 on the second row of the grid in seventh position.

Josh Brookes:

"I'm not disappointed with today. I'm just deep in thought to figure-out what the next step is going be: if it's in gearing or spring rates in suspension; or riding position. What's going to bring another couple of tenths for me to be able to better or equal the guys I'm trying to rival? I don't want to settle for second or thirds. I want to win. Everyone has done a great job and we've made great improvements throughout the weekend so far, and the bike is running brilliant - we've just got to keep making that progress."

PJ Jacobsen:

"We had a difficult start to the day, pretty much losing the first two free practice sessions, but I've been here before, so I was still smiling inside my helmet. We got some steady laps in and got the bike all dialled-back in after some changes. In qualifying I just put the hammer down. I did get caught behind someone in Q3 or my lap time could have been a bit quicker, but we've a small change to make before tomorrow, so we will be sweet for the races."

Taylor Mackenzie:

"I'm really happy with how things went today. I've struggled in qualifying all year so to be on the front two rows is great and I can't wait for the races tomorrow. I'll be looking to get away in that front bunch and hang in there as long as possible. Thanks to Derek, Danny and the rest of the team for the big effort, as my GSX-R600 Suzuki is flying."

Philip Neill - Team Manager:

"Even without a pole position today I couldn't be any happier how things have gone so far this weekend. We had a difficult start to the weekend with various little issues. The boys did a great job - all three of them. Taylor has captured his best qualifying position, which is excellent in the Supersport class. PJ had a very difficult start, missing the first Superbike session, so it's quite amazing that he's been able to finish qualifying in eighth place. Josh is beating himself-up a little looking for that extra tenth, but as I'm trying to tell him: qualifying is one thing and racing is another and the progression that he and his crew have made this weekend is phenomenal. It's time to now think about race consistency. But all good."

British Superbike Championship - Qualifying:

1. Shane Byrne (Kawasaki) 1m: 25.672s
2. Alex Lowes (Honda) +0.123s
3. Josh Brookes (Tyco Suzuki) +0.169s
4. James Ellison (Yamaha) +0.284s
5. Ryuichi Kiyonari (Honda) +0.327s
6. James Westmoreland (BMW) +0.370s
7. Chris Walker (Kawasaki) +0.997s
8. PJ Jacobsen (Tyco Suzuki) +1.012s

British Supersport Championship - Qualifying:

1: Graeme Gowland (Yamaha) 1m 28.380s
2: Jason O'Halloran (Honda) +0.203s
3: Jake Dixon (Yamaha) +0.229s
4: Alastair Seeley (Kawasaki) +0.236s
5: Billy McConnell (Triumph) +0.419s
6. Stuart Easton (Yamaha) +0.422s
7. Taylor Mackenzie (Tyco Suzuki) +0.479s
8. Ben Wilson (Kawasaki) +0.607s

More, from a press release issued by Milwaukee Yamaha:


Milwaukee Yamaha’s James Ellison narrowly missed out on a front row start for tomorrow’s sixth round of the MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship at Brands Hatch but is confident that he has the pace to challenge for podium finishes in the races tomorrow on the Grand Prix circuit.

Ellison had been consistently improving throughout the two free practice sessions ahead of qualifying and when it came to the race one grid decider he came out fighting. The Kendal rider continued to be pushing with the lead group, but when the chequered flag came out he was pushed back to the second row.

Waters meanwhile endured a challenging day as he made his debut on the Grand Prix circuit; the double Australian champion suffered a crash in the second free practice session and was hopeful to bounce back in qualifying. Waters’ challenging weekend continued into qualifying and he will start from the fifth row in 20th.

Ellison said: “I am disappointed to have missed out on the front row today but we have looked through the times and I am confident that we have the pace for tomorrow’s races. We have a few little tweaks still to make and then we will be good to go!”

Waters said: “We had some bad luck today with the crash in the free practice session and that lost us a bit of time which put us on the back foot with the sessions today. I just made a few mistakes and I need to not make them tomorrow. We will regroup and come out in the races to do our best to try and get two good results.”

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