Round 10 - MCE British Superbike Championship - Assen - Qualifying
A highlight on the MCE British Superbike calendar for riders, teams and fans alike is Assen. The annual pilgrimage to Holland is always memorable, usually representing the first round of the showdown it's always full of thrills and spills at the stunning 'Cathedral of Speed'. It's a chance for UK fans to meet their Dutch counterparts, and the atmosphere is always fantastic.
Friday went the way of Josh Brookes who topped both of the days Free Practice sessions in a comfortable style. He visited the circuit earlier in the season to compete in the Superbike IDM championship and appears to be riding quite comfortably on the Yamaha R1. Christian Iddon made an appearance in both practice sessions and appears to have come to the circuit ready to impress, Luke Mossey is also one to watch, putting in a fast time in FP2. Defending champion Shane Byrne was able to finish third in FP1 however was only able to put in a disappointing 6th place finish in FP2.
When qualifying day rolled around Josh Brookes once more got off on the right foot topping the final free practice session ahead of 'Shakey' Byrne and Richard Cooper. The track was wet in the beginning stages however as the superbikes roared around the circuit it soon dried and the laps soon crept back up to a blistering pace.
In the break before qualifying Club MCE members were joined by MCE BSB rider John 'The Hopper' Hopkins at the MCE tent who answered questions about his championship hopes and how he is getting along with his Ducati at this stage in the season. Safety cars were also at hand for MCE's customers as they went on a tour of the picturesque circuit, much to the envy of the Dutch fans!
It was Josh Brookes who bagged pole position for race one, lapping under the existing circuit record, able to keep fellow Title Fighter James Ellison at bay who finished the session second. John Hopkins was able to fire his Ducati to the front row of the grid; this will be the first time the bike will be starting from that position since Thruxton of last season.
Michael Laverty will lead the second row of the grid, with the new improvements on his bike the Tyco BMW seems to be suiting his riding style which is demonstrative in his qualifying performance today, he will be one to watch in the races tomorrow. Byrne was unable to match his series rival Brookes starting in a disappointing 5th by his standards.
Danny Buchan will complete the second row and will be hoping to get back on the podium and become another showdown spoiler for the likes of Bridewell who finished in a disappointing 9th position, which will not help his championship hopes as the title fight intensifies.
Tomorrow will be crucial for the top six in the showdown, the difference of one point here and there now can mean make of break as we reach the closing stages of the championship. At the moment Brookes has the upper hand, however we're sure there will be more than a couple of spanners in the works tomorrow - bring it on!
19.09.2015 - Big Ed