MCE British Superbike championship leader Shane Byrne claimed a close pole positon for Sunday's Brands Hatch GP round.

The Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki rider edged out GBmoto Kawasaki's Chris Walker by just 0.058s during Saturday's Q3 shootout. Walker's team-mate James Ellison qualified third for the opening race with a lap time 0.254s behind Shakey.

Byrne's nearest title rival Josh Brookes had a dramatic qualifying, falling in Q1 - prompting red flags - and then again in Q3. The Milwaukee Yamaha star was unhurt but the second incident left him in eighth place (+0.874s).

Between Ellison and Brookes on the timesheets were Jakub Smrz (Millsport Ducati), Tommy Bridewell (Milwaukee Yamaha), Ryuichi Kiyonari (Buildbase BMW) and John Hopkins (Tyco Suzuki).

Richard Cooper (Anvil Hire Kawasaki) and Dan Linfoot (Quattro Plane Kawasaki) completed the ten Q3 competitors, all covered by just 0.768s.

Byrne has won six of the eight races so far this season, putting him 79 points ahead of Brookes overall and 22 points clear in terms of podium credits for the Showdown.

Brookes and Kiyonari are the only riders other than Byrne to have won a race so far this season.