Rizla Suzuki riders John Reynolds and Karl Harris recorded their fastest laps of the weekend - so far - during Superpole to qualify in third and eighth places for tomorrow's two British Superbike races at Cheshire's Oulton Park.

Reynolds has made some dramatic changes to the handling of his Suzuki GSX-R1000 during the course of the weekend. In free practice on Friday, the reigning British Superbike Champion started out with the same settings he used at Cadwell Park just one week ago. But with slow progress during the early sessions, he decided to try a whole new direction in set-up. The result is a much more rider friendly bike that took him to third on the grid and he reckons will let him challenge for podium places tomorrow.

Harris celebrated a personal landmark by recording his fastest ever lap of Oulton Park during Superpole - the first time he has ever recorded a one-minute 32-second lap. Starting 11th in Superpole, he improved his position by three places to take eighth place on the grid, on the second row. Harris is still working himself up to full speed after missing the mid-part of the season due to a broken wrist he sustained when the British Superbike Championship visited Oulton Park in May. He is still suffering from some pain to his left wrist, but claims he has full movement and it wont hold him back in the racing.

Oulton Park is a fast-flowing 2.769-mile long track that traditionally favours the V-twins over the four-cylinder machines. But with a high lap speed of 108mph average, the Rizla Suzuki GSX-R1000 riders fancy their chances this weekend.

Steve Hislop on a Ducati took pole position. The Superbike racing starts at 13:20pm on Sunday, September 1st.

John Reynolds could have gone faster but for a mistake. "I could have gone faster in Superpole, but I made a mistake and ran wide at one point, forcing me off the throttle and then back on again," he said. "As it happened, I thought to myself that it would lose me time and it did. The changes we have made to the bike represent a massive step forward in the right direction. The bike is great. Where I am looking, the bike is going. It's letting me get on with choosing my lines and riding rather than constantly fighting it like we were before. That should pay dividends in tomorrow's races. Despite the mistake, I am not happy with being one-second off the pace in Superpole, but on race tyres it will be a lot closer. After a lot of hard graft, we have a good bike that we are channelling into something special that will be able to compete for podiums."

"I am pleased with a second row start but I am disappointed with my qualifying time," said Harris. "My Superpole lap felt mega, really fast, and I was disappointed when I found out it was a late 32 second lap. I thought it would have been in the early 32s. But it is my fastest ever lap around here on a Superbike and it is good enough for the second row and I'll make do with that. The bike is awesome, doing exactly what I want it to, and the wrist isn't troubling me at the moment, so I'm hoping that when the green lights go tomorrow, I'll be able to compete at the front and I'll be annoyed if I don't beat my qualifying position."

Team manager Paul Denning summed up the day.
"You have to be happy when both riders pull out their best lap times of the weekend during Superpole. That isn't easy to do when there is so much aggression and pressure to do a good lap and a small mistake can relegate you to the fourth row. Tomorrow we want John to be competing for the podium at least. He's on the pace and a good result is achievable. For Karl, I'm sure he'll be able to beat his qualifying time and grid position.

"John has made some massive changes to his motorcycle this weekend and has gone round here faster than ever before. On a track that clearly favours the V-twin bikes, he is knocking on their door and threatening an upset tomorrow. Karl isn't far off that pace either. We can't wait for the racing to start."

 

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