Hill grabs pole with Donington record

Tommy Hill proves himself to be the man to beat after easing to pole position at Donington Park, ahead of Michael Laverty and John Hopkins.
Tommy Hill's immaculate start to the 2011 MCE British Superbike title showdown continued into qualifying at Donington Park as he smashed the lap record for pole position.

Having topped each practice session heading into qualifying, Hill saved his best until last as he romped to an excellent lap time of 1min 28.869secs, slipping under the lap record.

The only rider to breach 1min 29secs, Hill was a clear four tenths up on Michael Laverty for a Swan Yamaha 1-2, and almost a second faster than third place man John Hopkins on the Samsung Crescent Suzuki.

All six title fighters made it into the top ten, though Peter Hickman signalled his intentions to create an upset by snatching a front row start for the second race in succession. That was enough to place him as the top Honda rider, ahead of Shane Byrne, who could only get to within 1.3secs of arch rival Hill.

Jon Kirkham continued his strong form on the second Samsung Crescent Suzuki to go sixth, ahead of the remaining title fighters, Ryuichi Kiyonari – who was nearly knocked out of Q1 and then again in Q2 before securing sixth – and Josh Brookes.

Graeme Gowland and James Ellison rounded out the top ten, the former securing pole position honours in the EVO class once again.

Elsewhere, James Westmoreland starts a fine 13th aboard the second of three WFR Hondas, with Ian Lowry 18th for MSS Colchester Kawasaki and Alex Lowes in 19th for Motorpoint Yamaha. Gary Mason, riding the 2012 specification Kawasaki, was 20th.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
James Hillier - Bournemouth Kawasaki [pic credit: Ian Hopgood]
James Hillier - Bournemouth Kawasaki [pic credit: Ian Hopgood]
Tommy Hill - Swan Yamaha [pic credit: James Higgs]
Tommy Hill - Swan Yamaha [pic credit: Ian Hopgood]
Tommy Hill Swan Yamaha - [picture credit: Ian Hopgood Photography]
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]
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]
Haslam, Byrne, Mossey, [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Shane Byrne, Be Wiser Ducati, [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Leon Haslam, JG Speedfit Kawasaki [Credit: Ian Hopgood]

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