Team Renegade Ducati's Michael Rutter will start tomorrow's 18-lap British Superbike races from the front row of the grid, after qualifying third fastest during this afternoon's Dunlop Super 12 Shootout at Oulton Park.

Rutter timed his final flying lap to perfection, crossing the line as the chequered flag was being readied and then going on to set a time of 1m 37.398s; fast enough to bump him up from fifth place to third and demote reigning champion, Steve Hislop, to the second row of the grid.

"That was probably the hardest lap I've ever done," said Rutter. "It felt like I was about to crash at every turn, but I knew I had to keep pushing hard if I was to regain the front row. Shakey was fast in qualifying, but we know that we've got a good race set-up, so if I can get a good start tomorrow then hopefully I'll be able to give him a run for his money."

Also starting from third place on the grid is Team Renegade Ducati Supersport rider, Leon Haslam. After suffering with machinery problems during wet practice yesterday, the 19-year-old former Grand Prix rider bounced back during today's second qualifying session to secure a front row start for tomorrow's 16-lap race.

"The weather and the bike conspired against us yesterday, but we managed to turn things around during qualifying today," commented Haslam. "We've had a few problems with suspension set-up, but we know what we need to change to improve things and I'm relatively happy with third place on the grid. I'm really looking forward to tomorrow's race, regardless of whether it's wet or dry."

Sean Emmett faces a fight through the field in tomorrow's two Superbike races, after qualifying down in 11th place during this afternoon's Dunlop Super 12 shootout. A problem with his factory 998F02 during the morning qualifying session necessitated an engine change during the interval, forcing Emmett to both run the new motor in and work on finding a set-up during this afternoon's regular qualifying and Dunlop Super 12 sessions.

"It's been another difficult day for us," said Emmett. "The problem we had this morning left us playing catch up all day, to the point where we were still working on set-up in the 15 minute Super 12 session. We'll make some more changes to the bike overnight to improve the set-up, which we'll try in morning warm-up, but I think it's fair to say that a good start will be critical if I'm to run with the leading group tomorrow."

Also facing a fight through the field tomorrow is 22-year-old Nick Medd, who qualified 18th fastest during regular qualifying, after getting baulked by traffic on his final two flying laps.

"It's disappointing to knock over a second off your best time and still end up on the fifth row of the grid," said Medd. "But on the positive side, I'm gaining in confidence every time I ride the bike and I'm also starting to get a feel for just how hard you can push a rear qualifying tyre. The aim for tomorrow is try and be as consistent as possible and to further increase my confidence in the bike."

 

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