Tommy Hill starts the Bank Holiday Monday ninth round of the MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship at Cadwell Park from pole position having headed off the fierce challenges of his title rivals Josh Brookes and Ryuichi Kiyonari.
Currently second in the standings, seven points down on Kiyonari, Hill is keen to forge clear and be in a strong position as the series heads into the Showdown phase after these races at the Lincolnshire circuit.
Hill powered his Worx Crescent Suzuki to a fourth pole start of the campaign, and his first since the fourth round at Cadwell Park, with a scorching lap in 1:27.343, an average speed of 89.85mph, and on a day of changeable conditions, he had also been fastest in the rain-lashed free practice session.
“The speed in the wet was particularly pleasing as we’ve had one or two issues in those conditions, but we’ve worked at them and got them right for here. We’ve done a good job so far, but now we have to work on from pole to take the races,” said Hill.
“It would be nice to get a couple of race wins here, get on top of the points to be a good position going into the Showdown section of the series,” added Hill who is aiming to taste the race winner’s champagne for the first time since his second round success at Thurxton back in April.
“I have to set that record straight – I’m here to win, not just rack up points. I know that podium credits are important in the final outcome, but, I want maximum scores here,” Hill continued.
Brookes, a winner last time out at Cadwell Park closed within a third of a second of Hill, but was disappointed at having to settle for second best.
“I thought I would be able to go for the pole position but I kept making mistakes which cost me the time so now I am feeling a bit shut down,” Brookes said.
“There is no question that I want to win these races, that is my motivation and even in qualifying I want to be first so I need to get out there and try and go one better,” added Brookes, currently third in the standings, three points down on Hill.
Kiyonari, bidding to take the British crown for a third time, and like his HM Plant team-mate Brookes a winner at the circuit back in May was only marginally slower, 1m 27.836secs, to be third fastest in the grid deciding Swan Combi Roll for Pole.
The leading trio in the standings filled the three rider front row with Michael Rutter on the RidersMotorcycles.com Ducati; Simon Andrews aboard the MSS Colchester Kawasaki and Relentless Suzuki’s Michael Laverty lining up on the second row.
These races define the six riders who will go forward into the Showdown for the title over the final seven races of the season – already Kiyonari, Hill, Brookes, Rutter and Michael Laverty are qualified as title-fighters with Alastair Seeley, a third row starter on his Relentless Suzuki looking the most likely of the three riders vying for the one remaining position to progress.
His rivals, Swan Honda rider Stuart Easton, starting from the fifth row, and John Laverty on the Buildbase Kawasaki, a further row back, face an uphill struggle while in the Mirror.co.uk BSB-EVO class Liverpudlian Steve Brogan looks set to take the lead in the scrap for that title, having set the best time, 1m 30.239secs aboard his Jentin BMW.