Rea, who missed both of last year’s events at the 2.692-mile Cheshire circuit, returned to the garage uninjured following the incident with enough time to put in one final lap before the chequered flag was waved. It was enough to elevate him from 21st position to 16th and move forward two rows on the grid.
The Ulster teenager’s debut season has already seen him collect four points-scoring finishes from six starts – a tally that he is aiming to boost tomorrow. Rea is confident that he can run with the pack that he is in, so a higher starting position is the key to his future success in the world’s leading domestic motorcycle racing series.
Jonathan Rea: “I’m delighted to be starting from fourth row on the grid. My main aim this weekend was to get a strong qualifying position and I’m happy to have achieved that. I’m hoping that it will make it easier for me to battle for good points-scoring finishes in tomorrow’s races
Qualifying: 1. M.Rutter (HM Plant Honda Racing) 1.36.436; 2. D. Thomas (Kawasaki) +0.479; 3. L.Haslam (Ducati) +0.748; 4. G.Richards (Kawasaki) +0.972; 5. K.Harris (Honda-Racing.co.uk) +1.089; 6. G.Mason (Honda) +1.146; 7. J.Haydon (Suzuki) +1.378; 8. J.Laverty (Honda) +1.531; 9. G.Lavilla (Ducati) +1.544; 10. S.Smart (Suzuki) +1.768; 16. J. Rea (Red Bull Honda) +2.324
Determined push from Laverty
Eugene Laverty will start tomorrow’s 16-lap British Supersport Championship race at Oulton Park from second row on the grid. The Ulster teenager had been in 12th position for the majority of today’s second qualifying session at the 2.692-mile circuit, before a determined push in the final ten minutes saw him put the Red Bull Honda CBR600RR into seventh place.
His best lap of 1:41.309 was just over one second behind the pole position time of fellow Honda competitor Cal Crutchlow. The Red Bull Honda machine is one of nine Honda CBR600RRs on the first three rows of the grid for round four of the ultra-competitive mid-range class.
It is the fourth time in as many events that Laverty has qualified inside the top ten on his debut Supersport season. He finished in second position at the Cheshire circuit last year aboard the Red Bull Honda RS125 and his 600cc capacity machine scored a double victory at the track in 2004 with the help of back-to-back Supersport champion Karl Harris.
Eugene Laverty: “It’s really competitive out there this weekend, so I’m pleased with seventh position. I like Oulton Park and I’m looking forward to the race tomorrow. I’m just concentrating on getting a good start and then focussing on reaching the chequered flag.”
Qualifying: 1. C. Crutchlow (Honda) 1:40.240; 2. T. Sykes (Suzuki) +0.065; 3. S. Easton (Ducati) +0.852; 4. J. Vincent (Padgetts Honda) +0.936; 5. L. Camier (Padgetts Honda) +0.961; 6. P. Young (Honda) +1.069; 7. E. Laverty (Red Bull Honda) +1.069; 8. J. Robinson (Honda) +1.081; 9. C. Jones (Honda) +1.292; 10. P. Riba (Kawasaki) +1.361
Top six for Jones
Red Bull Honda’s rookie Chris Jones is starting his first British 125GP Championship race at Oulton Park from second row on the grid. The 14-year-old recorded a best time of 1:48.781 aboard the Honda RS125 for sixth position – 1.8 seconds off the pole sitter’s pace.
Following a frustrating start to the Droitwich teenager’s season, Jones is approaching this weekend’s race at the 2.692-mile Cheshire track with a more relaxed attitude. His main aim is to reach the chequered flag for his first race finish of 2005 in the Honda-dominated series.
This year has already provided a steep learning curve for the talented teen. He is making the most of being part of a professional team and gathering as much valuable on-track experience as possible, while still enjoying his racing.
Chris Jones: “I’m determined to complete the full 14 laps tomorrow and bring the Red Bull Honda RS125 home for the team as well as myself. The crew and Dunlop and WP Suspension technicians have been really helpful, so I’d like to finish the race for them. I don’t feel under any pressure to finish on the podium though – although it would be nice!”
Qualifying: 1. J. Westmoreland (Honda) 1:46.956; 2. C. Elkin (Honda) +1.479; 3. D. Linfoot (Honda) +1.693; 4. A. Walker (Aprilia) +1.713; 5. K. Weston (Honda) +1.820; 6. C. Jones (Red Bull Honda) +1.825; 7. A. Beech (Honda) +1.912; 8. J. Pearson (Honda) +1.997; 9. A. Lowes (Honda) +2.104; 10. M. Wilcox (Honda) +2.240