Michael Rutter has taken pole position for the first of three British Superbike races at Brands Hatch after putting in a scintillating qualifying time.

The Ridersmotorcycles.com rider has been consistently quick in qualifying on the Ducati this season, but this is the first time the Knockhill race winner has qualified on pole position in 2010.

His result came despite crashing after the chequered flag when he fell during an attempted practice start. Despite this, the BSB veteran is pleased to have emerged some four tenths faster than the competition.

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"We've got a good set-up, the bike is working well and I got a good tow from Josh Brookes early on and set the time, so now I'm aiming for strong points in the race," said Rutter, who was also fastest in SP2. "It was all so easy till the end - I decided to go out for a practice start, but I was bit too keen too early and slid off - my own fault, but no harm done."

He will be joined on the front row by Tom Sykes, who provided his closest competition on the World Superbike Kawasaki, Ryuichi Kiyonari and Tommy Hill, the latter recovering well from a dismal first day on the Worx Crescent Suzuki to out-qualify title rival Josh Brookes.

Brookes himself will start just behind in fifth position, ahead of James Ellison, who will look to repeat his Brands Hatch victory from earlier in the season on the Swan Honda.

Having performed well in free practice, Relentless Suzuki duo Alastair Seeley and Michael Laverty will start seventh and ninth for race one, which takes place later today, the pair split by the Suzuki of Yukio Kagayama. Ian Lowry rounded out the top ten on the second Kawasaki SRT.

Elsewhere, surprise absentees from the top ten shootout included Stuart Easton in 15th and John Laverty in 12th, while Simon Andrews ruled himself out of contention with a fall at Druids during SP2.

David Johnson qualified as the top Evo rider in 20th position.