With a record crowd expected at tomorrow's British Superbike races the pressure was on for the Team Virgin Mobile Aiwa Yamaha trio of Steve Plater, Simon Crafar and Sean Emmett at the demanding Oulton Park circuit near Cheshire today.

Under sunny skies the team had worked through the previous two timed sessions with force, Simon ending the prelude to the single lap Superpole shoot-out fastest of the group with a best of fifth quickest time overall just ahead of Plater in seventh and Emmett in eighth.

Sean's time was applauded by the full pit-lane as he finished the session, the Londoner was hurting after a fall early in the day during his first flying lap.
Parting company from his Rob Mac Racing Yamaha R1 Superbike at the 130mph run up Clay Hill Sean was lucky to escape without serious injury, his hands taking the majority of the force from the fall.

After an extensive check up in the circuit's medical centre, and several pain-killing injections directly into the backs of his badly swollen hands Sean was able to continue his search for a good race set-up out on track.

Simon and Steve were in their usual front-running form, the Kiwi was flying round the 2.7 mile long circuit, running his R1 to the edge to put himself fifth overall in the run-up to Superpole whilst Plater was able to work on both race and qualifying set-ups by the end of the second session.

Come the lottery of Superpole and it was Steve who continued his fine form from the last round at Cadwell Park just five days ago with a best time of seventh, Simon couldn't match his earlier time in the pre-sessions however and clocked ninth fastest with Emmett struggling through the pain barrier to score an impressive 13th best time.

He said: 'It was very hard to get the bike turned because of the state of my hands but we couldn't back down and not go out. This is racing and we have to fight for every single place so there was never a choice of quitting - I have never been a quitter and despite the injury being so severe I don't want to give in. It was painful out there and my left hand looks pretty grotesque. Luckily there is no broken bones, it seems I have just damaged the tendons at the moment - tomorrow is going to be tough but I'll do the best I can.'

Steve added: 'The second row of the grid is OK here. This is a track which should suit a flowing attack from the Yamahas - we've just got to get away at the beginning and take it from there.'

Simon said: 'Both the bike and I have improved so much since we were here last time a few months ago it's scary. The pace is there and I think we showed that all the way through the timed sessions. It didn't quite play out in Superpole today but I know I can run at my earlier times on race rubber all day long so I am really looking forward to tomorrow.'



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