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  • Josh Brookes claims pole position for the 2014 BSB opener at Brands Hatch, despite crashing three times
  • Slippery conditions catch out a large number of riders, including each of the front row
  • Kiyonari and Hopkins to start second and third, with Byrne down in 13th

Josh Brookes has taken a 'wet and wild' pole position for the 2014 MCE British Superbike Championship opener at Brands Hatch despite falling three times during a chaotic session defined by slippery conditions.

The Australian prevailed in a bizarre qualifying session, with rain creating a huge challenge for the riders, the treacherously slippery conditions catching out several favourites for repeated tumbles across the three phases.

Ironically, it was Brookes that fared worse in the conditions, with a fall in each of the three qualifying phases, but not before he was able to put in lap times capable of getting him through to SP3. His third and final tumble, at Graham Hill Bend, came just moments after he snatched pole position from Ryuichi Kiyonari, who in turn was also down and out after setting his best lap.

Brookes' success came as pre-event favourite Shane Byrne suffered a torrid time, the Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki amongst those to fall in SP1 - having already fallen heavily inn FP3 - and only able to recover to 13th in SP2.

As such, Brookes starts his first r ace for Milwaukee Yamaha on pole position, while Kiyonari marked his BMW debut in an impressive second place, with BSB returnee John Hopkins keeping it upright long enough to finish third best.

A chance for riders with wet weather credentials to shine, Chris Walker stayed out of trouble to qualify fourth on the best of the huge Kawasaki contingent, ahead of James Westmoreland and Richard Cooper, the latter impressing on his full-time BSB debut in sixth.

Another rider to fall, but recover to SP3, Ben Wilson starts his first BSB race in several years from an excellent seventh place, ahead of BSB veteran Michael Rutter and Keith Farmer, the Ulsterman another rider to end his day in the gravel trap.

Beyond Byrne's disastrous day, team-mate Stuart Easton also struggled with his ZX-10R, missing the Q1 cut to qualify down in 23rd, while Dan Linfoot and Jakub Smrz - two pace setters in dry practice - will start 24th and 25th after also crashing.