Michael Rutter was thrilled to have gone a long way to reviving his fortunes in the British Superbike Championship after qualifying on the front row of the grid on his debut for Worx Crescent Suzuki at Thruxton.
It was anticipated that Rutter, who is replacing the injured Sylvain Guintoli for this round, would endure a difficult weekend adjusting to the GSX-R1000 having had no testing prior to the Thruxton event.
Nonetheless, the experienced former race winner has been a top ten contender throughout the event, culminating in him qualifying a fine fourth during Superpole.
An impressive effort from Rutter, particularly after his split from the Rob Mac Yamaha team after Oulton Park, he was delighted to be back at the sharp end.
“We're so pleased with this, a front row start. It's been a gradual process in getting up to speed over the past two days. On Friday we purposely chose to work with just two hard tyres, working specifically on set-up and getting the bike to work at this difficult circuit. I have to say Sylvain has done a fantastic job on the base setting.
“The changes we have made have really only been to account for the special demands of this circuit, otherwise it's exactly as he would have it.
“The team has been great, the one-rider focus is a great luxury that I'm really enjoying. So, yes, I'm really looking forward to tomorrow. There's still work to do, but we're looking good.”
His efforts also earned the praise of team manager Jack Valentine, who was delighted to see his last minute signing getting up to speed quickly.
“This is a fantastic result. Michael has come into the team with no practice on the bike and very quickly got himself dialled into the set-up. We said when we took him on that he's a quality rider and as he had two podiums here we knew he could go well. As it is, his front row qualifying shows exactly the class of rider he is.
“We've had to change the bike set-up this weekend, but that's because of the circuit and not the rider. In fact Michael pretty much likes the bike set-up the way Sylvain had it. Here at Thruxton the bike spends a lot of time on the edge of its tyres at high speed while also dealing with plenty of bumps and undulations so it calls for a super stable set-up.
“We're going to try one more set-up tomorrow in warm-up, but whether that works or not I think Michael has every opportunity of two podium finishes tomorrow.”