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Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki titan Shane 'Shakey' Byrne left it until his final lap in Q3 to nail down pole position for this afternoon's opening MCE British Superbike race at Oulton Park.

Byrne, chasing a record fourth crown this season, denied Milwaukee Yamaha's Josh Brookes by just 0.049s at the finish, with Quattro Plant Kawasaki's Dan Linfoot securing an excellent front row start in third, 0.393s behind championship leader Byrne.

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Brookes' Milwaukee Yamaha team-mate Tommy Bridewell heads up row two, with Barry Burrell on the WD40 Kawasaki and GBmoto Kawasaki's Chris Walker completing the first six.

Tyco Suzuki's John Hopkins, Peter Hickman (RAF Reserves Honda), Millsport Ducati's Jakub Smrz and Buildbase BMW star Ryuichi Kiyonari rounded out the top 10 in Q3.

Japanese rider Kiyonari, who set the pace in Q1 from Yamaha men Brookes and Bridewell, came off at Brittens in Q2 but his passage to the final session was already secured as he finished third quickest behind Brookes and Byrne.

However, despite frantic efforts by Kiyo's team, he was unable to clock a time in Q3 and starts the opening race of the weekend in 10th position.

Tyco Suzuki's Hopkins produced a flying lap on his final circuit in Q2 to jump up to fifth position but in doing so squeezed team-mate Josh Waters out of Q3.

Bathams BMW rider Michael Rutter - who fell at Lodge in Q1 - Stuart Easton on the second Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki, Glen Richards (Anvil Hire Kawasaki), Howie Mainwaring (Quattro Plant Kawasaki), Patric Muff (Bathams BMW), Keith Farmer (PR Racing Kawasaki), John Ingram (Morello Kawasaki) and Ian Hutchinson on the FFX Kawasaki were out after Q2.

Yorkshireman Hutchinson's chances were thwarted after he came off on the exit of Old Hall, with Farmer also involved in a spill at Brittens.

Jon Kirkham will be forced to start race one from the back of the grid after his team were unable to repair his Halsall Kawasaki in time for qualifying following his spill in FP3.