Honda Racing's Mark Heckles qualified an excellent eighth on his British Superbike debut today at Snetterton, round two of the British Superbike Championship.

Heckles put his VTR1000 SP-2 just over a second behind pace setter Shane Byrne, who qualified for Sunday's two 25-lap races in a lap record-breaking time of 1min 05.875secs.

Heckles raced a similar Honda in last year's World Superbike Championship and has been selected to ride for Honda Racing for the next two rounds at Snetterton and Thruxton with this experience in mind.

"I'm really enjoying the experience of riding with the Honda Racing team this weekend," said the 27 year old. "It was always going to be a big challenge to race here after only one test at Cadwell Park during the week. However, we've made a lot of progress today and I'd like to thank the team for all the hard work they've put into getting me this far. My objective tomorrow will be to put in a couple of strong points-scoring rides and learn as much as I can from completing race distance."

Team-mate Steve Plater (pictured) was just 0.165secs slower, but that dropped him back to 11th.

"We've picked up from where we left off at the first round at Silverstone and have continued to make progress with the bike," said Steve. "I've built up a reputation for being stronger in the races than in practice, so I'll be looking to do just that in tomorrow's races. After Silverstone, I need to get some points on the board and I'm confident that if I get off the line quickly, I'll be able to do just that."

 

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