Championship leader Hodgson (Ducati Fila) sweats it out to claim fifth Superpole of the year - row 3 start for Xaus
Neil Hodgson had to endure a nerve-racking final ten minutes of Superpole before clinching his fifth pole position of the year after the Ducati Fila rider could only set seventh quickest in overall qualifying for the British WSBK round at Silverstone.
Hodgson lay down the gauntlet with a superb time of 1'52.875 but then had to sweat it out for the rest of the session as Japanese wild-card rider Yukio Kagayama (Suzuki), NCR Ducati's Regis Laconi and Gregorio Lavilla (Suzuki) all went close on their one-lap dash.
"That was terrible, it was so nerve-racking having to sit there and wait!", declared Neil. "Again I've struggled a bit through practice and qualified seventh. Normally I get back in the garage and there are only a couple of riders left to go, but this was a nightmare, I didn't enjoy it at all. We're on a brand-new bike that's never been round Silverstone before so it's been hard to get the right setting. Silverstone has a lot of fast corners and when you close the throttle it transfers the weight to the front, and we're a bit unstable at high speed. The problem with the new chicane is that we will all be on each others back wheels when we come in but then you have to play follow-my-leader to get through and it spreads the field out".
Team-mate Ruben Xaus could only set tenth quickest time and will start tomorrow's races from row 3 after struggling to find a satisfactory set-up in qualifying.
"My Superpole lap was going well because I was up at the first split but then I had a bit of a moment in the second section and lost precious time there. My final split was also pretty good so I'm sure I could have gone better" explained Ruben. "I'm not particularly happy with my row 3 start but at least my race pace is quite good after my long-run this afternoon so I'm looking forward to battling with the other guys at the front tomorrow".
STARTING-GRID: 1. Hodgson (Ducati Fila) 1'52.875; 2. Kagayama (Suzuki) 1'52.919; 3. Laconi (NCR Ducati) 1'53.043; 4. Lavilla (Suzuki) 1'53.044; 5. Rutter (Renegade Ducati) 1'53.327; 6. Toseland (HM Plant Ducati) 1'53.381; 7. Walker (HM Plant Ducati) 1'53.620 .... 10 Xaus (Ducati Fila) 1'53.871.
TV COVERAGE : Eurosport (Europe), Sunday, 2145-2245 (highlights). Eurosport News (Europe), 1300 CET race 1 and race 2 (live). BBC 2 (Britain), Sunday 1130-1300 race 1 (live), 1520-1630 race 2 (live). RAI Due (Italy), Sunday 15 June, 1620-1715 race 1 highlights and race 2 (live)