Team Renegade Ducati's Michael Rutter will start the opening race of the 2003 British Superbike Championship from pole position, after setting the fastest lap during this afternoon's Dunlop Super 12 Shootout at Silverstone.

Rutter, who was never out of the top three during practice and regular qualifying, waited until the dying seconds of the 15 minute Dunlop Super 12 session before claiming pole position, with a time of 1 minute 26.235 seconds around the revamped Silverstone circuit.

"Superpole was exciting, but the new Super 12 qualifying format is absolutely frantic," said a jubilant Rutter. "I was maybe trying a bit too hard at the start of the session, because I made a few mistakes on my first two flying laps, but it all seemed to come together right at the end. We've had a fantastic weekend so far, and if we can carry the momentum through to tomorrow then I'm confident we'll be up there battling for the win in both races."

Things didn't go quite as well for Rutter's Renegade Ducati team-mate, Sean Emmett. The 32-year-old former GP rider will start tomorrow's two Superbike races from the fourth row of the grid, after suffering with mechanical problems during today's free practice and regular qualifying sessions.

"Obviously I'm disappointed with my qualifying position, but we've just had one problem after another today," said Emmett. "The bike I crashed yesterday developed a fault this morning, and then the quickshifter on the other bike started playing up as well: all in all a pretty frustrating day. We've got some work to do tonight, but I'm confident we can get everything sorted ready for the first race tomorrow."

Gritted teeth and grim determination were the only things that got Nick Medd through today's qualifying session, with the bumpy Silverstone circuit playing havoc with the fractured collarbone he had plated less than two weeks ago. The 22-year-old Beverley rider qualified 19th on the grid, but will make a decision as to whether he's fit enough to race after tomorrow morning's warm up.

"The Silverstone circuit is really bumpy, which has made riding the bike with an injured shoulder harder than it would have been at a smoother track," commented Medd. "The last thing I want to do is make the injury worse by racing when I'm not 100 per cent fit, so I'll have to see how it holds out during morning warm up tomorrow."



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