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Sep 11, 2010

Tommy Hill On British Superbike Pole At Croft

James Ellison at Croft.

Round 10 Croft 11/12 September

Tommy Hill powered in his fifth pole start of the campaign ahead of the tenth round of the MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship at Croft to take advantage of struggles by his two immediate rivals for the crown, Ryuichi Kiyonari and Josh Brookes.

Riding the Worx Crescent Suzuki, Hill, the joint leader in the title stakes with Kiyonari, had been fastest throughout free practice and he carried that form through to the grid deciding Swan Combi Roll for Pole, coming out on top with a best lap of the North Yorkshire circuit in 1m 20.325secs.

"It was hard out there, but we are in good position and want the championship," said Hill. "We've been consistent in qualifying across the season, and turning that into results. Now hopefully we can get the job done with two podiums here, though two wins would be nicer.

"Everyone is pushing hard, trying hard, and that showed with Kiyonari going down, but for me it is good to come out on top. Maybe we will make a few little tweaks to the bike before the races, but I want the race wins," added Hill.

Michael Laverty, going into the races in fifth place in the points among the six "title-fighters," ran his Relentless Suzuki within 0.093secs of Hill with Michael Rutter, doing his hopes of taking the country's premier crown no harm as he put his Ducati into third place on the front row with a highly competitive lap in 1m 20.499secs.

However, for the three other "title-fighters" it was a tough session. Kiyonari made it through to the final element of the grid decider, but tipped off his HM Plant Honda on the out lap at the start of that session, to be back in tenth place on the leaderboard, and with it a third row start.

Alastair Seeley, in sixth place among the elite six in the standings, starts from the fourth row aboard his Relentless Suzuki, with Brookes, who goes into these races a point down on the leading duo, starting alongside him after a struggle with machine set-up at the crucial time.

James Ellison was the fastest of the rest, running fourth overall with a lap in 1m 20.945secs aboard his Swan Honda and showing the speed and style that had taken him to an opening round victory prior to the accident at Thruxton in which his title dreams were wrecked by a broken leg.

Dan Linfoot heads the second row on his Motorpoint Yamaha ahead of MSS Colchester Kawasaki rider Simon Andrews and Stuart Easton, who enjoyed his maiden BSB win in the corresponding round last year. Loris Baz, the 17 year old French rider, deputising for the injured Motorpoint Yamaha rider Andrew Pitt, ran eight fastest but crashed heavily at the chicane in the closing moments.

Hudson Kennaugh looks set to peg back vital points on BSB-EVO class leader Steve Brogan the former South African champion was comfortably the fastest aboard his Splitlath Aprilia from his team-mate Chris Burns with Brogan, still sore from his tumble in free practice, sixth fastest in class and almost half a second down on Kennaugh.

For the record:

MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship
Top ten qualifiers
1.Tommy Hill (Worx Crescent Suzuki) 1m:20.325s
2.Michael Laverty (Relentless Suzuki by TAS) +0.093s
3.Michael Rutter ( Ducati) +0.174s
4.James Ellison (Swan Honda) +0.620s
5.Dan Linfoot (Motorpoint Yamaha) +0.791s
6.Simon Andrews (MSS Colchester Kawasaki) +0.836s
7.Stuart Easton (Swan Honda) +0.886s
8.Loris Baz (Motorpoint Yamaha) +1.145s
9.Peter Hickman (Ultimate Racing Yamaha) +1.286s
10.Ryuichi Kiyonari (HM Plant Honda)

Superbikes on track
Sunday 12 September
12.00-12.10 Warm up practice
13.25 Race one 20 laps
16.30 Race two 20 laps

Superbikes on television
British Eurosport 2
Sunday 12 September
Full tv listings

More, from a press release issued by Swan Honda:


Swan Honda secured their best qualifying result in recent rounds at Croft this afternoon as James Ellison flew to his first front row start of the season after powering to fourth place in the Swan Combi Roll for Pole race one grid decider at the team's home round.

Ellison had been running in the top five throughout the final Q3 session and he continued to improve his pace as the minutes counted down to give the team their first front row start since Oulton Park. Stuart Easton also had his best qualifying result since Knockhill and will start the opening race from seventh on the grid.

Ellison said: "This feels like it has been a long time coming and the team have worked hard to get us back up here. This means a huge amount to me and probably more than the other riders as it is a significant moment as it is the first time I have been up there challenging for the front row since the injury. This is a big round for Swan Honda and hopefully we can repay the team, the fans and everyone who has supported us this season with a good result tomorrow."

Easton said: "That was a much better qualifying session for me and although I wanted to be higher than seventh, a second row start is not a bad place to start the first race from tomorrow. We have made some real progress with the engine braking system since yesterday and I did some laps with James to see where I might be able to pick up some more time. I think we have a strong and consistent race pace so I am feeling in a good position for tomorrow's races."