Be Wiser Ducati’s Scott Redding claimed his third pole position of the 2019 Bennetts British Superbike Championship when he topped the Datatag Extreme Qualifying session at the Thruxton circuit in Hampshire this afternoon with team-mate Josh Brookes claiming fourth position.
The local ace from Quedgeley in Gloucestershire had once again quickly got to grips with another circuit he was seeing for the first time and after the three free practice sessions, he was quickest on the combined times with a lap of 1m 14.916s giving him a 0.189s advantage over Danny Buchan. Aussie Brookes was in seventh overall but only four tenths of a second in arrears.
Qualifying got underway under cloudy skies and both riders, as expected, comfortably progressed from Q1, with the duo doing all they needed to do on the factory-supported Be Wiser Ducati Panigale V4 R during the 18-minute session.
Q2 was held over the shorter period of 12 minutes and saw Redding and Brookes up their tempo and they went first and third quickest after just their first flying lap. Brookes’ second lap saw him overhaul his team-mate but although Honda’s Andrew Irwin went to the top of the leaderboard, second and third quickest overall saw Josh and Scott progress to the all-important Q3.
Spots of rain delayed the final session slightly and it was subsequently increased from eight minutes to 12 with lap times initially more than four seconds slower than what they had been previously. However, the track rapidly dried and it was Redding who went quickest with two rapid laps putting him over half a second clear of Peter Hickman. Brookes, meanwhile, opted to stay in the pits for the first half of the session but his first flying lap saw him leap up to fourth.
Tommy Bridewell briefly knocked Redding off the top spot, but the former GP ace immediately retaliated and a lap of 1m 14.803s ultimately sealed his third pole position. 2015 BSB champion Brookes remained in fourth which will see him start tomorrow’s race from the head of the second row.
Scott Redding: “It was a bit scary out there when the raindrops began to fall and although many people had told me how much grip the circuit has, when you’re doing 150mph and there’s rain on your visor, it’s not that easy! I wasn’t sure how much grip there would be or how the bike would work and although I stayed out a bit longer than I intended initially, it all worked out well in the end. I wasn’t expecting pole so it’s nice to get the job done and start tomorrow’s first race from the top spot.”
Josh Brookes: “I’ve been struggling all weekend with edge grip and I’m just searching for that bit extra from myself as well to help put me in a better position. I’m in a competitive range and the bike’s turning well, holding its line well and stopping so if I can just improve the edge grip, I think we’ll be a lot stronger in the races. I don’t want to make too many changes as that strategy didn’t reap the rewards at Snetterton but it’s worth trying something in morning warm-up and see how it works. The rain wasn’t easy to deal with either and I rode a bit too conservatively as it’s not easy to push as hard as you want when there’s rain on your visor so I think there’s more to come from me tomorrow.”
Johnny Mowatt, Team Co-ordinator: “Once again, Scott’s visiting a circuit for the first time but it’s fair to say he learns them quickly and he’s been able to be quick straightaway. He’s been working hard on his race pace like the majority of teams and riders have as tyre life is the sole priority at Thruxton, so we’ve got to be happy. The aim is to keep the momentum rolling and keep his confidence up but we’re ready for two battles tomorrow as I don’t think anyone will run away with either of the races. Josh has been missing that last little bit this weekend and is searching for something extra, but he made a change after Q1 and his lap times significantly improved, and we’ve got both bikes on the front two rows so we’re happy with that. We’ll hopefully keep our noses clean in the early stages and the plan is to continue our Snetterton form in tomorrow’s races.”
1 Scott Redding (Be Wiser Ducati) 1m14.803s
2 Tommy Bridewell (Ducati) +0.059s
3 Peter Hickman (BMW) +0.502s
4 Josh Brookes (Be Wiser Ducati) +0.668s
5 Andrew Irwin (Honda) +0.733s
6 Glenn Irwin (BMW) +0.774s