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Title contender Alex Lowes will start from pole position for the fourth time in five rounds as he upped the pressure on his MCE British Superbike Championship rivals ahead of the season finale at Brands Hatch.

The in-form WFR Honda rider, whose two wins last time out at Silverstone have moved him to within 24 points of the championship lead with three races remaining, bounced back from an FP3 tumble to see off the challenge of his rivals during the top ten shootout.

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Lapping the Brands Hatch GP circuit in 1min 26.205secs, that opening effort would have proved good enough to secure pole position even before he went better with a 1min 26.020secs lap.

Despite his efforts, Lowes still has championship leader Byrne for company alongside him, the Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki rider showing well to keep Lowes in his sights and to out-qualify closest title rival Josh Brookes.

Indeed, Beyond Lowes and Byrne, it was a mixed session for the title contenders, with Michael Laverty qualifying fifth, Brookes - who is nine points behind Byrne - in sixth and Tommy Hill in seventh. Tommy Bridewell didn't make the top ten and will start in 13th.

Back at the front, Lowes could receive some critical help from WFR Honda team-mate James Westmoreland after he qualified third, while Barry Burrell could throw a 'wild-card' into the mix after an impressive effort saw him secure his first BSB front row start for Buildbase BMW.

Elsewhere, Quattro Plant Kawasaki's Karl Harris maintained his strong practice form to secure a spot on the outside of the second row in eighth, ahead of Peter Hickman and Stuart Easton afterwards.

Outside the top ten, Patric Muff just missed out on the shootout in 11th, ahead of Michael Rutter and Bridewell, while Noriyuki Haga - a former race winner at WSBK level around Brands Hatch - could only manage 19th.