Rea is only competing in his third road racing season after two previous years in the British 125GP and Supersport championships as part of the Red Bull Rookies Honda team. He has graduated to the Superbike class with some distinction and now looks set to challenge his more experienced rivals for podium finishes on his immaculately prepared CBR1000RR Fireblade.
This is Rea’s third consecutive front row start after taking a sensational pole position at Mondello Park and another third place at Croft. The young Ulsterman followed that up with a best race result of seventh at Croft – beating that will be his clear objective at the start of tomorrow’s two 30-lap Superbike races at Knockhill.
Jonathan Rea: “I’ve continued to make good progress on the CBR1000RR Fireblade even though I have only raced a RS125 here in the past. Once again I’ve managed to gain a satisfactory qualifying position which is of course so important for a good start. My confidence is growing, and with a good set-up on the Red Bull Honda, I’m hopeful of recording my best results of the season tomorrow.”
Qualifying: 1. R. Kiyonari (HM Plant Honda Racing) 0:49.351; 2. M. Rutter (HM Plant Honda Racing) 0:49.499; 3. J. Rea (Red Bull Honda) 0:49.717; 4. J. Reynolds (Suzuki) 0:49.735; 5. D. Thomas (Kawasaki) 0:49.764; 6. L. Haslam (Ducati) 0:49.772; 7. M. Laverty (Honda) 0:49.857; 8. J. Haydon (Suzuki) 0:49.880; 9. K. Harris (Honda-Racing.co.uk) 0:49.894; 10. G. Richards (Kawasaki) 0:49.912
Laverty fifth at Knockhill
Eugene Laverty continued his impressive qualifying record at the seventh round of the Metabo British Supersport Championship at Knockhill. The talented, young Ulsterman has taken a top ten position on the starting grid for every round of the ultra-competitive series to date.
Fourth after this morning’s opening period of qualifying, Laverty was able to improve his time by 0.2 seconds in the warmer climatic conditions enjoyed by the Supersport field in the second session. The Red Bull Honda rider’s time of 51.414 seconds was well inside his elder brother Michael’s existing lap record of 52.804 and secured fifth position overall.
The competitive nature of the Supersport class may be evidenced by the top 14 riders all qualifying within 1.1 seconds of each other. Jay Vincent took a superb pole position on his CBR600RR, but with Laverty and the other middleweight contenders in close contention, it could be anyone’s race tomorrow over 28 laps at the 1.3-mile circuit near Dunfermline.
Eugene Laverty: “I’m really happy with how everything is going with Red Bull Honda. I’m gaining momentum every time I go out on the CBR600RR, but then I expected this level of performance midway through the season. I had a good race last time out at Croft, so I’m aiming for my first podium finish of the year. This wasn’t one of my favourite circuits before this weekend, but that all might change after tomorrow!”
Qualifying: 1. J. Vincent (Honda) 0:51.155; 2. T. Sykes (Suzuki) 0:51.193; 3. L. Camier (Honda) 0:51.724; 4. S. Easton (Ducati) 0:51.406; 5. E. Laverty (Red Bull Honda) 0:51.414; 6. C. Crutchlow (Honda) 0:51.438; 7. C. Jones (Honda) 0:51.555; 8. J. Robinson (Honda) 0:51.745; 9. P. Riba (Kawasaki) 0:51.789; 10. M. Llewellyn (Honda) 0:52.021
Front row for rookie Jones
Chris Jones continued to show his true potential for Red Bull Honda by qualifying on the front row for the seventh round of the British 125GP Championship at Knockhill. The 14-year-old rookie maintained a leading position on the leaderboard during free practice and qualifying to take a final third place on the grid.
The Droitwich teenager is still on the crest of a wave after taking a deserved victory at the last round of the Honda-dominated series three weeks ago at Croft. The level of expectation will now increase in the young protégé, but the signs are that he can cope with the added pressure.
This is Jones’ fourth front row start of the season – all of them in third position – and he will hope to capitalise on this advantage during the 24-lap race. Already fifth in the 13-round series, the RS125 rider is focussing on elevating the Red Bull Honda towards a top three position overall.
Chris Jones: “My win at the last round has given me renewed confidence for the remainder of the season. The Red Bull Honda RS125 is going really well here at Knockhill and I’d like to thank the team for how hard they have worked to get me into this position. I’m expecting tomorrow’s race to be as frenetic as ever, but hopefully I’ll be in the mix for the podium places.”
Qualifying: 1. K. Coghlan (Honda) 0:54.499; 2. J. Westmoreland (Honda) 0:55.139; 3. C. Jones (Red Bull Honda) 0:55.204; 4. K. Weston (Honda) 0:55.221; 5. D. Linfoot (Honda) 0:55.364; 6. C. Elkin (Honda) 0:55.426; 7. B. Clark (Honda) 0:55.450; 8. B. Smith (Honda) 0:55.462; 9. A. Beech (Honda) 0:55.491; 10. W. Dunlop (Honda) 0:55.529