It wasn't the best of days for the snappily titled Virgin Mobile Samsung British Superbike team with only Steve Plater making it inside the top ten after the first outing of the new two session qualifying format in the series.

Steve Plater nudged his bike inside the top ten by setting the tenth fastest time whilst Gary Mason was right behind his team-mate in eleventh. Tommy Hill, winner of last year's R6 Cup set the nineteenth fastest time.

This year, Superbike riders have two fifty-minute qualifying sessions in which to set a time. The grid position is determined by the best time from the two sessions. Unfortunately for the Virgine Mobile squad, a combination of damp weather in the morning and the revised format did not favour the team this weekend.

Woodhall-Spa based rider Steve Plater was a little disappointed with the early season teething problems but, despite this, he is confident of a pleasing result for the opening round.

"We are at the beginning the season and, while we would have liked to be up the front, there are two 22-lap races tomorrow which will give me ample time to make my presence felt," he said after the qualifying effort.

While team-mates Steve Plater and Gary Mason settled back into their jobs, Superbike rookie Tommy Hill experienced his first-ever British Superbike qualifying session and starts his two races from a respectable fifth row.

The second qualifying session for the 19-year-old Lingfiled was cut short when he low-sided his machine at Brooklands, but despite this small set-back, the 2003 R6 Champion was pleased with his day's work.

"It was such a pity, it was really coming together out there and it was feeling good. I was knitting the laps together and the bike was nice and smooth. However, having run as high as fourth today, I know I can do better than my start position suggests and I am really looking forward to my first British Superbike race," he commented.

Team manager Rob McElnea went through his thoughts from the day, "After our test here ten days ago we decided to run some new parts today. However a damp track this morning didn't provide us with the best conditions. Teething problems are all part and parcel of the opening meeting. But despite this we are confident that we will have two strong results tomorrow."

 

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