Gary Mason says he 'can't believe' he has become the first privateer to secure a front row grid slot in the history of the British Superbike Championship following an outstanding run to third in qualifying at Thruxton.

The Quay Garage Honda rider has made a series of notable scalps throughout this season, belying his two-year-old ex-Stobart Honda to regularly challenge for top ten results alongside newer machinery.

However, third position on the grid takes the 'yellow plate' into new territory after Mason, who was experiencing the top ten shootout for the first time this season, pumped in a lap time that would place him comfortably ahead of the HM Plant and Hydrex Honda bikes.

His feat is made all the more impressive given he had just a single set of tyres left available, meaning he performed less laps than his rivals during the session.

Already holding a substantial lead in the Mirror.co.uk Cup standings, Mason insists he has 'nothing to lose' when racing does get underway.

"I have only ever had one front row start in my whole career and that was at Mondello Park when I was with Yamaha," he told the BSB website. "It is great for me to know we are getting so much out of the Quay Garage Honda as I started the development work on the bike when they were running in Stobart colours a few years ago.

"We have really focussed on the settings and I knew we could do a quick lap but I just can't believe we are starting from the front row. I have nothing to lose really in the races tomorrow and to be honest the whole thing is still sinking in - it is just unbelievable."