El­li­son shows class in Assen down­pour

Sunday Sun - - Motor Sport -

CUM­BRIA’S James El­li­son will line up on pole po­si­tion for the first of to­day’s MCE In­sur­ance Bri­tish Su­per­bike Cham­pi­onship at Assen.

As the series made its an­nual pil­grim­age to the Dutch track, the weather was back to its usual tricks with heavy rain be­fore and dur­ing yes­ter­day’s Datatag Qual­i­fy­ing ses­sion.

The McAMS Yamaha pi­lot was one of a hand­ful of riders who man­aged to stay up­right in the con­di­tions, which con­tin­ued to get worse.

With just this week­end and then the fi­nal round at Brands Hatch in a fort­night left, it was all about which of the Show­down con­tenders could cap­i­talise on the con­di­tions to get the high­est placed start.

Peter Hick­man was the first to lose out, as he could only man­age the 19th quick­est time in Q1, and failed to go through to the sec­ond ses­sion.

But Q2 brought more drama as reign­ing and five times cham­pion Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne crashed out. The Be Wiser Du­cati rider made it back to the pits and back out again, but then crashed again on his out-lap.

This leaves him lan­guish­ing way down in 16th po­si­tion on the grid for the first race, and could spell the end of Paul Bird’s Pen­rith team’s cham­pi­onship hopes.

And Byrne wasn’t the only cham­pi­onship con­tender who strug­gled in Q2, as only cur­rent leader Leon Haslam made it through to the fi­nal shoot-out.

As the rain con­tin­ued to hit, most of the riders took their turn to hit the top of the timesheets, with El­li­son lead­ing early on as his team-mate Michael Laverty crashed out.

Haslam moved to the top but was soon de­posed by Brad Ray, Tyco BMW’s Chris­tian Id­don then went quick­est, fol­lowed by Haslam.

But as the ses­sion en­tered its clos­ing mo­ments, it was El­li­son who had the edge, slip­ping in a lap of 1:54.027mins to take pole ahead of Haslam, with Id­don third.

Dan Lin­foot, who has come good in re­cent weeks after pow­er­ing his Honda Rac­ing Fire­blade to wins at the last two rounds at Sil­ver­stone and Oul­ton Park, will head the sec­ond row.

The Wetherby rider may not be in with a chance of seal­ing the ti­tle, but he’s en­joy­ing his new-found strong form.

Ray’s Build­base Suzuki starts from fifth, ahead of Amer­i­can John Hop­kins aboard the Moto Rapido Du­cati.

Two lo­cal riders not in ac­tion this week­end are Burnop­field’s Chrissy Rouse and Stella’s Barry Teas­dale.

The Pirelli Na­tional Su­per­stock 1000 cham­pi­onship is not run­ning at this event, nor is its 600cc coun­ter­part, which means Northum­ber­land team SGR Rac­ing is also en­joy­ing a week­end off ahead of the fi­nal round later this month.

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