Cal Crutchlow will start from pole position for the second successive Bennetts British Superbike Championship season after leading the way in qualifying at Croft – despite admitting he isn't a fan of the North East circuit.
Crutchlow took pole last season while riding for the Rizla Suzuki team and repeated the feat this time around onboard his HM Plant Honda CBR1000RR, taking top spot from Michael Rutter by two tenths of a second.
However, he admitted that pole position will be worth nothing if he can't convert it into race results and he said he was looking to try and follow the lead set by team-mate Leon Haslam at Cadwell Park and take a double win.
“I'm a bit shocked to be honest – I've never liked Croft, but with my second pole in the Superbike class in a row here, I'm getting to like the place more and more!” he said. “Poles are all well and good, but I now have to turn this into two race wins – that's what I want and need.
“I really want to win in front of HM Plant's home crowd and then get back up the order in the championship. The HM Plant Fireblade feels pretty good around here, but we do have a little rear-end chatter in the final hairpin. It's not affecting us too much though, as we've still got pole!”
Team-mate Haslam starts from fourth on the grid and team boss Havier Beltran said he was happy with how the weekend to date has played out.
“I think we can safely say that Cal likes this place now!” he said. “It's also very good to get pole in front of our guests and friends from HM Plant, for whom Croft is effectively their home race. Leon is also there or thereabouts with the CBR1000RR Fireblade, but we still have some minor issues to iron out in warm-up if we can.
“Both riders have some rear-end chatter – Cal into the last turn and Leon into The Complex – despite this, they'll still be challenging for wins. We're pleased to see how the bikes have improved from the start of the season up to now.”