Team Renegade Ducati's Michael Rutter will start rounds three and four of the British Superbike Championship from the front row of the grid tomorrow, but missed out on pole position by the narrowest of margins during this afternoon's Superpole shootout at Brands Hatch.

The 28-year-old former TT winner concentrated on finding a workable set-up and race tyre during the early practice and qualifying sessions, only switching to super-sticky qualifying rubber in the fifteen-minute pre-Superpole practice session. It was a strategy that paid dividends, with Rutter setting his quickest time of the weekend on his Superpole flying lap, to claim second place on the grid for tomorrow's two superbike races.

"Pole position would have been good, but I'm happy enough with second place on the grid," Rutter said, "I've been going well all weekend on race tyres, so I knew that a switch to qualifiers for Superpole would allow me to improve on my time from regular qualifying.

"I was aiming for anywhere on the front row of the grid this weekend, so to qualify less than two-hundredths of a second off pole was actually better than I'd hoped for. To be honest, I pulled in at the end of the flying lap knowing I could have gone quicker, but I'm still exploring the limits of the Team Renegade Ducati, and didn't want to push it too hard and risk a crash. We've got a good race set-up, so I'm pretty confident of two good results tomorrow - if I can pick up a podium in both races, then I'll leave here happy."

Team-mate Shane 'Shakey' Byrne's season continues to gather pace, and his performance during qualifying at Brands Hatch proving just why he's being touted as one of the hottest prospects in the championship. The reigning privateer champion will start from row two of the grid tomorrow, just behind Rutter.

"Obviously I'm disappointed not to be on the front row, but we stuck in a new front tyre for Superpole and it wasn't quite as scrubbed in as I'd have liked," declared Byrne, "It gave me a couple of scares on my flying lap, which cost me quite a bit of time. However, I know I can go a lot faster on the Renegade Ducati, especially around the Brands Hatch circuit, so if I can get a good start in tomorrow's two races, then who knows - races have been won from the second row in the past."

Steve Hislop took pole position despite falling in the regular qualifying session, and will look to add to the race win he took last time out at Silverstone.

 

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