Shane Byrne says trouble with his rear tyre was to blame for his qualifying crash as he narrowly held on to pole position ahead of his PBM Kawasaki team-mate Stuart Easton.

The defending MCE British Superbike champion had grabbed provisional pole position with a 48.153s lap midway through the top ten qualifying shootout but as he prepared for a final blast he slipped off at turn seven. His crash opened the door for Easton and Milwaukee Yamaha rider Josh Brookes but neither of his rivals could knock him off top spot.

After securing pole position at Knockhill, Byrne explained his low side slide was caused by his efforts to manage a tricky new rear tyre which refused to be tamed by the four-time BSB champion.

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"We put a new set of tyres in and I knew what I can do so I pushed for it but just had a lot of rear tyre spin, more than the other two sessions, and I tried to get my head around it while putting in a half-sensible lap," Byrne said. "I tried to ride the front a little bit harder and the next thing I knew I was upside down."

Despite the fall not having an effect on his qualifying result Byrne felt it summed up an unusual Q3 which saw almost all of his BSB competitors' lap times tumble until the final few moments.

"It was a really strange last session because as a rider you are aiming to keep progressing with your lap time," he explained. "I didn't go mad in the first session but definitely pushed hard in the second session because I wanted Q3.

"My apologises to the Paul Bird Motorsport team [about the crash] they have done a great job and we've been fastest all weekend. It is tomorrow that counts so hoping for two strong races."