The Virgin Mobile Samsung Yamaha team experienced an unrewarding afternoon at Brands Hatch on Sunday despite making more technical progress with the all-new Yamaha R1.

The three riders Gary Mason, Steve Plater and Tommy Hill qualified in eleventh, thirteenth and fifteenth places respectively for round two of the British Superbike Championship.

The trio of riders dug deep into their reserves as they fought for every last second at the 1.22-mile Indy track and found comfortable settings on the Yamaha R1 race bike.

Mason, despite his disappointing grid position, was pleased with the initial results achieved by the team at the frantic Kent circuit.

"Considering this is the first time we have been here with the bike, I'm happy with all the work we have done today," said Mason at Brands. "I didn't get the clearest of runs in qualifying, which went against me a little but the races should be close and exciting."

His team-mate Steve Plater was also satisfied with the work and commented: "We have tried a lot out here over the past two days with settings and tyres. Every time I went out the bike was faster. I'm feeling more and more comfortable on the bike, which is allowing me to ask more of it each time. It's frustrating not be at the front but we have to be patient with a new machine to make sure that we make positive progress."

Superbike rookie and R6 graduate Tommy Hill will start the double-race second round of the series from the fourth row and will be looking for a strong finish at his home track.

"As long as I make some places up in the race, I know I will be finishing in the points and that is what I am looking to do," said Hill. "It should be a good race as I am lining up alongside Kieran (Clarke). We had some really close battles in the R6 Cup last year and I know we will both be determined to beat each other to the line."

Rob McElnea commented: "The team has made some excellent progress over the past couple of days. We appreciate the fact that we are having to treat the early meetings as test meetings which can be very frustrating, but at the same time hugely rewarding as we uncover the race potential of the R1 and we are confident that we will soon be challenging at the front again."

In the Virgin Mobile Yamaha R6 Cup local lad Bob Collins from Beckenham starts the second round of the one-make series from pole, ahead of Londoner Kiel Bryce while the first winner of the season Adam Jenkinson occupies third place. James Hillier completes the front row of the grid in fourth.

 

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