Hill takes pole to head Swan Yamaha 1-2

Swan Yamaha command a clear 1-2 result after qualifying at Oulton Park, ahead of John Hopkins and Loris Baz.
Tommy Hill will start from pole position for the second round of the MCE British Superbike Championship at Oulton Park after dominating qualifying.

Having set the pace during free practice leading up to Superpole, Hill - a race winner last week at Brands Hatch – was again in imperious form around the Lancashire circuit from start to finish.

Shrugging off the memories of his title-challenge ending accident at Oulton Park last year, Hill would eventually emerge a clear three tenths up on team-mate Michael Laverty.

Indeed, only Laverty was able to get close to Hill, the Northern Irishman out pacing him in Q1, but falling short when it mattered during Q3. Even so, with Laverty finishing four tenths clear of third place himself, it was a mighty performance by the Swan Yamaha team.

That 'best of the rest' role fell to John Hopkins, who produced an exceptional last lap to sneak onto the front row of the grid, the American rewarded for the substantial improvements he has made during the free practice sessions with a landmark result in only his second meeting.

Equally impressive was the performance of Loris Baz, who made it three Yamahas on the front row with a fine effort on the Motorpoint bike. The Frenchman, who was fifth on the grid at Brands Hatch, had looked to be down and out after Q2 only for his final effort to push him back into the reckoning.

Josh Brookes will start in fifth place after an eventful session that also almost saw him eliminated in Q2 for the second round in succession. Nonetheless, having required a last gasp lap in Q2 to squeeze him into the top ten shootout, the Relentless Suzuki rider would go on to claim a competitive fifth.

Stuart Easton starts in sixth position, though the MSS Colchester Kawasaki rider likely to be disappointed not to be higher having posed the greatest threat to Swan Yamahas throughout practice. Indeed, it is worth noting that the Scot's lap time in Q2 would have been good enough for third in Q3.

It was a quiet day for the HM Plant Honda team, with Brands Hatch pole sitter Shane Byrne ending up a fairly modest seventh, while his team-mate Ryuichi Kiyonari could only manage ninth position himself. Between the pair, James Westmoreland starts eighth on the second of the Motorpoint Yamahas, while Ducati man Michael Rutter was tenth fastest.

Further back, Dan Linfoot was the unlucky man to be eliminated by Baz and Brookes's late effort as he settled for 11th, while Alex Lowes was an excellent 12th overall as the best of the EVO riders, his WFR Honda team-mate Glen Richards alongside him in 14th.

There was disappointment, however, for Gary Mason, who could only manage 17th having been in and around the top five during practice, while Jon Kirkham was a lowly 16th on the second Samsung Crescent Suzuki having been sixth best in Q1.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Tommy Hill - Swan Yamaha
Jake Dixon, RAF Reserves Kawasaki [Credit: MSV BSB Media]
Jason O`Halloran, Honda Racing [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Josh Brookes, Anvil Hire Yamaha, [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Shane Byrne, Be Wiser Ducati, [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Luke Mossey, JG Speedfit Kawasaki, [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Peter Hickman, Smiths BMW [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Tommy Bridewell, Team WD-40 Kawasaki [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Bradley Ray, Buildbase Suzuki [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Sylvain Guintoli, Bennetts Suzuki [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
James Ellison, McAMS Yamaha [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Dan Linfoot, Honda Racing [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Alastair Seeley, Tyco BMW [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Lee Jackson, Smiths Racing BMW [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Haslam, Byrne, Mossey, [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Shane Byrne, Be Wiser Ducati, [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Leon Haslam, JG Speedfit Kawasaki [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Leon Haslam, JG Speedfit Kawasaki [Credit: Ian Hopgood]

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