Josh Brookes could claim a hat-trick of victories in the triple-race seventh round of the MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship at Snetterton, having won the Saturday afternoon race ahead of his HM Plant Honda team-mate Ryuichi Kiyonari.
That third victory of the season for Brookes takes him 13 points clear of Worx Crescent Suzuki rider Tommy Hill, who finished third on what had earlier been a problematic afternoon, as his team had to work hard and against the clock to solve an electrical problem.
Hill is promising to hit back in the two Sunday afternoon races but Brookes is full of confidence and relishing the challenge of adding to his latest victory: “Now that would be something special,” said the Aussie as he considered a hat-trick bid, adding “But I always ride for wins.”
The Saturday race had been held over from the weather ravaged Knockhill round, with the starting grid decided on the basis of the first race at the Scottish circuit putting Brookes on the second row. He compounded that with a poor get-away to be running ninth on the opening lap as Kiyonari set the pace ahead of Michael Laverty and his Relentless Suzuki team-mate Alastair Seeley with Hill fourth.
Brookes was on the charge, picking up places to be attacking Hill for second place on the seventh lap, taking him next time around and the closing in on Kiyonari but the former two times winner of the title was intent on taking his sixth victory at the Norfolk circuit.
Kiyonari looked set for victory but Brookes nosed inside and ahead at Riches on the last lap to take the win by 0.549secs. “I was lining up Kiyo for several laps, but he had the better of me at the chicane, so it came down to a last lap lunge as I knew that if I could get ahead of him, I could hold him off,” said Brookes.
Earlier in the afternoon Brookes had come close to matching the lap record as he claimed his second pole start in as many races ahead of Sunday afternoon's first race.
He had set the pace in the first two elements of Swan Combi Roll for Pole grid deciding session, but saved the best for last putting in a lap of 1m 04.803secs while Hill who had suffered electronic problems to his bike throughout thanked his team for rectifying them when it mattered most as he secured the all important front row start, albeit in the third slot.
Rutter, the Knockhill race winner, separated them aboard his RidersMotorcycles.com Ducati while Kiyonari ran fourth fastest.
James Ellison, underlining his returning to full fitness after breaking his thigh in practice for the second round at Thruxton back in April, headed the second row on the Swan Honda with a lap in 1m 05.337secs to be ahead of Relentless Suzuki riders Michael Laverty and Seeley and Gary Mason aboard the MSS Colchester Kawasaki.
Dan Linfoot, riding the Motorpoint Yamaha, and Buildbase Kawasaki's John Laverty completed the top ten qualifiers while Steve Brogan, riding the Jentin BMW, was the fastest of the Mirror.co.uk BSB-EVO class riders, starting from the fifth row of the grid.
Results – Saturday, race one
1. Josh Brookes (HM Plant Honda) 19m 41.650s
2. Ryuichi Kiyonari (HM Plant Honda) +0.594s
3. Tommy Hill (Worx Crescent Suzuki) +4.475s
4. Michael Rutter (Ridersmotorcycles.com Ducati) +4.989s
5. Alastair Seeley (Relentless Suzuki by TAS) +5.485s
6. Michael Laverty (Relentless Suzuki by TAS) +5.889s
7. James Ellison (Swan Honda) +9.148s
8. Simon Andrews (MSS Colchester Kawasaki) +11.305s
9. Gary Mason (MSS Colchester Kawasaki) +14.364s
10. Tommy Bridewell (Quay Garage Honda) +14.386s
1. Josh Brookes 191
2. Tommy Hill 178
3. Ryuichi Kiyonari 168
4. Michael Laverty 156
5. Michael Rutter 152
6. John Laverty 112
7. Alastair Seeley 112