Pole sitter Josh Brookes says he was impressed by John Hopkins and wasn't convinced he had secured P1 until the chequered flag fell on qualifying at Thruxton.

The Milwaukee Yamaha rider had been involved in a tussle with the Lloyds British Moto Rapido Ducati stand in for top spot throughout the free practice sessions and as Brookes' championship rivals ran into difficulties in qualifying it quickly became a two-bike race for pole.

The Australian eventually secured his second consecutive BSB pole by 0.212s from Lloyds British Moto Rapido Ducati's Hopkins but says he was made to sweat for it.

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"I didn't know if I would have it after Q2 when I looked at John's lap and thought 'wow that is impressive'," Brookes said. "You always leave a little for the end because you don't want to crash out in Q2 doing your best and miss Q3. I knew I had a little bit in reserve but I didn't think it was going to be that much.

"I put everything on the line and got a really good lap time with my head down. I'm really pleased for the Milwaukee Yamaha team as they have given me a bike and worked through the settings so I can really push it."

Casting his eye down the qualifying results, Brookes believes it is a positive thing for the championship to see a mix up on the grid for race one at the Hampshire circuit.

More significantly, it provides Brookes with a golden opportunity to overturn the five-point deficit to Shane Byrne in the riders' championship, with the defending BSB title winner starting a lowly 17th.

"It is good to see a bit of a change at the front too with John Hopkins back here and Luke Mossey coming up into the frame along with Richard Cooper last weekend pushing," he said. "It is good to see some other names and I'm sure the fans are going to enjoy it."