Eugene Laverty set a dominant pace in the opening qualifying session for British Supersport at Brands Hatch, as the damp surface caught out a number of competitors.

The Irishman finished the session just over a second clear of closest rival Tom Sykes, with whom he is duelling for second position in the championship. But that margin betrays the true nature of the Red Bull Hinda star's advantage in the slippery conditions, as he was at times more than two seconds ahead of anyone else.

In the early laps Laverty shared the top spot with Northpoint Ekerold Honda team-mates Leon Camier and Cal Crutchlow, but once he broke clear 20 minutes in he was untouchable, and even a late charge from Sykes was unable to come close to dislodging him. Everything his rivals threw at him, it seemed, Eugene was able to throw back at them with interest.

New champion Crutchlow would ultimately wind up third, almost a full 1.8s adrift, with Martin Jessopp an impressive fourth ahead of Camier. Steve Plater ended up sixth, with Dennis Hobbs, Kieran Murphy, Ian Lowry and Supersport Cup ace Ben Castleton rounding out the top ten.

Newly-promoted Luke Quigley, stepping up from the National Superstock Championship in place of Sean Emmett at Lloyds British Ducati, was a strong 12th, with road racers Guy Martin and Ryan Farquhar down in 23rd and 25th.

Among those caught out by the weather were Tommy Bridewell and Supersport Cup runner Robert Kennedy, who fell at Stirlings and Druids respectively and would end the session down in 32nd and 27th places. The error was particularly costly for the Vivaldi Racing ace, who had been lying in sixth position before his accident.

BSS qualifying results (1) - Brands Hatch:

1. Eugene Laverty
2. Tom Sykes
3. Cal Crutchlow
4. Martin Jessopp
5. Leon Camier
6. Steve Plater
7. Dennis Hobbs
8. Kieran Murphy
9. Ian Lowry
10. Ben Castleton C

C indicates Supersport Cup rider