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Hill dominates for Oulton Park pole

7 July 2012

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Tommy Hill has taken his fourth MCE British Superbike Championship pole position of the season at Oulton Park after dominating throughout qualifying.

Having topped the first dry session of the race weekend in FP3, Hill proceeded to head up SP1 and SP2 comfortably before striking to the top spot with his first flying lap in SP3.

That burst of speed was enough to put him a good three tenths ahead on the competition and places him in prime position to extend his series advantage when the first of three races get underway later this afternoon.

Even so, his nearest championship rivals remain in close company with Josh Brookes going second fastest on the Tyco Suzuki, while Ian Lowry – who struggled for pace at Oulton Park earlier in the season – was a fine third on the Padgetts Honda.

Snetterton and Knockhill race winner Michael Laverty will get underway in fourth position, the Samsung Honda lucky to secure a front row spot after setting the same lap time as Shane Byrne. However, Laverty would get the crucial position by virtue of setting the 1min 36.421secs lap time first.

Having broken into the top ten for the first time this season at Knockhill, Alastair Seeley lowered his best grid slot to sixth place on the second of the Tyco Suzuki's, holding off the revelation of the session, Peter Hickman.

The former MSS Bathams Kawasaki rider is competing in only his second event aboard the Buildbase BMW as a substitute for the injured Dan Linfoot, but gave a convincing pitch for a longer-term deal by securing the team's best qualifying position of seventh since it switched from Kawasaki to BMW machinery in 2011.

Less than half a second off the front row, Hickman's time was enough to see off James Westmoreland, who gave WFR Honda some cheer after Alex Lowes threw away the chance of a high grid slot with a crash in SP1. Indeed, though the youngster made it through to SP2 in second position on the strength of his first SP1 effort, his subsequent tumble would sideline him from the remainder of the session. Together with Graeme Gowland failing to set an SP2 time, WFR Honda will have two of its riders starting from the fifth row.

GBmoto Honda's Tristan Palmer was another suffer a fall, this time in SP2, but he was still able to make it into SP3, whereby he qualified in ninth, ahead of Jon Kirkham.

Outside the top ten, Noriyuki Haga missed out on the top ten cut by a mere nine thousandths of a second to qualify in 11th, while Keith Farmer marked his BSB qualifying debut with an impressing run to 13th on the grid just hours after jumping aboard a Superbike for the first time.

His efforts were enough to out-qualify every other Kawasaki rider other than his team-mate Byrne, including fellow BSB debutant Mark Aitchison on the Quattro Plant machine. The former WSBK rider will start his first-ever BSB race from 22nd.


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