Shane Byrne has taken the last Bennetts British Superbike pole position of the season at Brands Hatch after dominant performance in qualifying.

Ending the year exactly how he started it, Byrne was unrivalled during the top ten shootout, going quickest with his first lap before the newly crowned champion lowered his best time to 45.799secs.

Performing at his and the GSE Racing team's home circuit this weekend, Byrne admits he didn't realise he was on pole until the session had finished.

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"It was really strange because the lap times on my bike kept saying 1.46.1, but my pit board said 1.45.7, so I thought I was four tenths down. I was trying really hard with several laps on the bounce, but I didn't realise I had already done 1.45.7."

The only rider to slip below the 46secs barrier, Byrne is joined on the front row by the three riders who are disputing the runners-up spot in the standings - Leon Haslam, Cal Crutchlow and Tom Sykes.

It was a fine effort from Haslam in particular, who went into the shootout struggling with a shoulder injury, aggravated when he fell during the first knockout session. The five-time winner was looking behind him on the exit to Druids when he lost control of the bike and came down. Luckily for him, he had plenty of time to jump onto the spare bike and secure second on the grid.

Crutchlow, who has been on pole for the last two races, was marginally behind his team-mate, while Sykes managed to jump onto the front row with his final lap.

James Ellison leads the second row, the Hydrex Bike Animal rider having been challenging for the leading positions initially before eventually dropping to fifth place on the grid.

Croft and Silverstone winner Leon Camier had a quiet session to go sixth on the grid, ahead of Michael Laverty on the Relentless Suzuki and Michael Rutter, the North West rider joining Haslam in bouncing back from a tumble early on in the session.

The star of the session, however, was arguably Jon Kirkham. With Karl Harris forced to withdraw this weekend [see separate story], Kirkham has stepped onto the Rob Mac Racing Yamaha at the last minute.

Nonetheless, he made steady improvements as the session progressed to squeeze into the top ten shootout and eventually place the bike ninth on the grid. Simon Andrews, meanwhile, was the slowest of the shootout riders in tenth.

Elsewhere, not one of the Kawasaki riders managed to end the season on a high, with Billy McConnell ending up 11th when he was bumped out of the top ten in the final seconds of Q2. He was joined on the sidelines by fellow high profile riders Atsushi Watanabe and Tristan Palmer in 12th and 14th.

John Laverty proved the best of the Cup riders in 13th overall, with Gary Mason and Shannon Etheridge following in 16th and 19th.