Tommy Hill, leader in the chase for the MCE Insurance British Superbike title, shattered the four-year-old Oulton Park lap record to put his Worx Crescent Suzuki onto pole for the Bank Holiday Monday third round.
Hill enjoyed a scorching finale to the Swan Combi Roll for Pole session as he headed off the challenge of Flying Scot Stuart Easton to claim his second successive pole, bouncing back - as he had in the previous round - from a spectacular high-side in free practice.
“I wasn't prepared to settle for second so I pulled my finger out and went for it,” said Hill after his 1m 35.214secs charge around the 2.692 mile Cheshire circuit. “The team have got my bike working really well – it is mega so now I feel good to score more good points, keeping chipping away and staying consistent.”
Easton, fully recovered from the leg injuries sustained in pre-season testing, was not too disappointed as he settled for second best aboard his Swan Honda, running 0.394secs down, and reflecting: “That was a fairly typical qualifying session for me – I know my limit and didn't want to push any harder than that.
“Importantly, I know what I can do in the race, so second on the grid is not a bad result. Now is the time for me to start winning races or taking podium finishes,” added Easton who goes into the races in third place in the standings.
Michael Rutter put his RidersMotorcycles.com Ducati, into third place on the starting grid, just ahead of Josh Brookes, whose win last time out moved him into second place in the title stakes, 34 points down on Hill.
“I'm bit surprised really to be on the front row,” admitted HM Plant Honda riding Brookes who put in a late surge up the placings. I gave it hell and got through, really stepping it up on the final laps.”
Alastair Seeley, a winner at the circuit last year en route to the National Superstock title, headed up the second row for Relentless Suzuki with a lap in 1m 36.113secs, to be ahead of former two times title winner, and six times race victor here, Ryuichi Kiyonari. His compatriot Yukio Kagayama lined up alongside with John Laverty eighth fastest on the Buildbase Kawasaki.
Michael Laverty and Quay Garage Honda rider Tommy Bridewell completed the top ten qualifiers while Aussie David Anthony, the leader in the chase for the Mirror.co.uk BSB-EVO class title, set the pace in that category, running nineteenth fastest overall on the MIST Suzuki with a lap in 1m 38.402secs
Hudson Kennaugh, riding the MAR Kawasaki ran him close with Alex Lowes third fastest on his debut into Superbike action with the Redline KTM team running a third of a second up on Craig Fitzpatrick on the Close Print Finance Honda.