The Be Wiser Ducati Racing Team of Josh Brookes and Scott Redding endured contrasting fortunes in Datatag Extreme Qualifying for round one of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship at Silverstone this afternoon with Redding taking an excellent third place but Brookes back in 18th after a technical issue forced him out early on in proceedings.
In glorious conditions, the duo enjoyed strong performances across the three free practice sessions on the factory-supported Be Wiser Ducati Panigale V4 R to head into the Datatag Extreme Qualifying this afternoon with Brookes second fastest and Redding in sixth.
Aussie Brookes started the first 18-minute Q1 segment in superb fashion, his time of 54.213s placing him second quickest, but the session was only five minutes old when a technical problem forced him to pull off the circuit and bring out the red flag. The former BSB champion eventually slipped back to seventh overall and with the team having no time to fix the issue he had to sit out the remainder of qualifying which means he’ll start the first race from the sixth row of the grid tomorrow.
That left former MotoGP rider Redding to single-handedly fly the flag for the Penrith-based team and a time of 54.051s saw him post the second quickest time in Q1 and comfortably make it through to Q2 where he promptly went quicker still around the 1.64-mile National circuit at 53.974s.
That gave him the fifth quickest time and meant he joined eight other riders in the final eight-minute Q3 session which would determine grid positions for tomorrow’s first 30-lap race. He duly strung together a succession of quick laps with his best time of 53.607s seeing him claim third place and the final spot on the front row, just 0.058s off pole position on his BSB debut.
Scott Redding: “I’m overwhelmed to be on the front row and although I really wanted pole position for the first BSB race of the season, that may have been a bit over-ambitious. The three-part qualifying session is different to what I’m used to, and I got stuck in traffic a bit which was frustrating, but I managed to get some clear track and made a big step with my lap times. It’s also a bit of a juggling act with the tyres but third place and the front row for my first BSB race is superb and full credit to the team who have been working really well right from the word go. I’m glad to get my first qualifying session under my belt and can now look forward to the two races.”
Josh Brookes: “The weekend had been going really well up until Q1, but these things happen and what’s encouraging is that we’ve been very strong from day one of the project which is still very new. We’re developing the bike all the time and understanding it more and more so although the sixth row of the grid isn’t ideal, it’s not so bad when you know you have a good motorbike underneath you. Being so competitive this early in the season gives me a lot of confidence and I’ve got a good feeling for the races, so we’ll fully utilise morning warm-up to fine tune the bike that bit more and look to have two strong rides tomorrow.”
John Mowatt, Team Co-ordinator: “It’s been a bit of a mixed bag today and we’re bitterly disappointed for Josh as he’d been at the sharp end in every session up until Q1. It was unfortunate that we had a mechanical issue, but his pace has been strong throughout and whilst starting from the sixth row of the grid gives him a lot of work to do, I’m confident he’ll be able to make good progress in the first race. On the other side of the garage, Scott did a superb job and a front row for his first BSB race is superb. He’s on a big learning curve and obviously has a big target on his back having come from MotoGP but he’s the consummate professional and is chipping away with the plan we have all the time. There’s a lot of differences in BSB compared to MotoGP but we can’t ask for anymore so roll on tomorrow’s races.”
There is live action on Eurosport with the Bennetts BSB races shown at 13.30 and 16.30. Free-to-air channel Quest will be showing the action live and highlights will be broadcast during the week including on ITV4 on Wednesday evening at 20.00.
For further information, please visit the team’s website, www.pbmuk.net and the official website of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship www.britishsuperbike.com.
Pictures (courtesy of Double Red Photographic). Josh Brookes (25) and Scott Redding (45) in action at Silverstone today.
1 Tarran Mackenzie (Yamaha) 53.549s
2 Jason O’Halloran (Yamaha) 53.603s
3 Scott Redding (Be Wiser Ducati) 53.607s
4 Josh Elliott (Suzuki) 53.738s
5 Luke Mossey (Suzuki) 53.808s
6 Dan Linfoot (Yamaha) 53.874s
18 Josh Brookes (Be Wiser Ducati) 54.213s