However, his qualifying position doesn’t tell the full story of what has been an eventful day for the 18-year-old Ballyclare rider. Thirteenth after this morning’s first qualifying session, Rea was confident of improving his position on the provisional grid.
The Red Bull Honda crew has been concentrating on finding a good race set-up on the CBR1000RR Fireblade, with the objective of delivering a consistent run of top ten finishes up to the end of the season. However, his progress was curtailed by a mechanical problem in the early stages of this afternoon’s qualifying session.
A non-Honda part led to an engine failure which meant that Rea was forced to leave the track at Abbey. The CBR1000RR Fireblade was damaged after it subsequently caught fire, and with no spare machine available, the talented teenager was forced to sit out the remainder of the session.
Jonathan Rea: “I’m feeling surprisingly good after the pounding my body took six weeks ago at Snetterton. I’ve pushed myself hard in testing and at the non-championship race at Castle Combe since then, so I’m in pretty good shape.
“It’s a bit unlucky, but I guess it was better to happen today rather than on race day. However, looking on the bright side, I’ve got some good riders behind me and I only lost three places in this afternoon’s session. I may be further down the grid than I’ve been in recent rounds, but I’ll give it my best shot and see how it goes.”
Qualifying: 1. R. Kiyonari (HM Plant Honda Racing) 1:26.111; 2. M. Rutter (HM Plant Honda Racing) 1:26.228; 3. G. Lavilla (Ducati) 1:26.334; 4. L. Haslam (Ducati) 1:26.366; 5. D. Thomas (Kawasaki) 1:26.419; 6. J. Reynolds (Suzuki) 1:26.537; 7. S. Smart (Kawasaki) 1:26.699; 8. J. Haydon (Suzuki) 1:26.714; 9. M. Laverty (Honda) 1:26.766; 10. G. Richards (Kawasaki) 1:26.858; 16. J. Rea (Red Bull Honda) 1:27.360
Laverty takes pole position
Eugene Laverty has continued to show his undoubted potential on four-stroke machinery by taking his first pole position in the Metabo British Supersport Championship at Silverstone. The 19-year-old Ulsterman recorded the fastest time of 1:28.908 on his Red Bull Honda CBR600RR in this afternoon’s second session – an impressive feat at the ninth round of his debut season in the ultra-competitive Supersport class.
Laverty has benefited from two productive tests since the last race at Snetterton. The Red Bull Honda team has used the six-week mid-summer break to work with Dunlop Tyres and WP Suspension. It has helped to further develop the young Toomebridge star’s riding style to suit the power and handling characteristics of the back-to-back championship winning machine. His previous experience has been on Honda two-strokes in the British 125GP Championship.
With recent testing being held at the venues for the ninth and tenth rounds of the championship – at Silverstone and Cadwell Park respectively – Laverty is prepared to pick up from where he left off at Snetterton in July. He had led round eight at the Norfolk track before a technical problem restricted him to a lower leaderboard finish.
The luck of the Irish may yet return at Silverstone, but Laverty knows that he still has it all to do in tomorrow’s 20-lap race. An end of session crash reminded him that he must not be complacent, with total concentration required to deliver his first podium finish of the year.
Eugene Laverty: “This is just the boost I needed after the frustration of what happened at Snetterton. We’ve made a lot of progress during testing and I’d like to thank Red Bull Honda, Dunlop and WP for all the assistance they’ve given me in recent weeks – and here at Silverstone this weekend.
“We’ve got a good chassis set-up on the CBR600RR and we’ve been working hard all season to get to this strong position. Now I know that I’ve got to turn around this level of performance over race distance. My confidence is building and there’s no doubt that I’ll be challenging hard for my first podium position of the season.”
Qualifying: 1. E. Laverty (Red Bull Honda) 1:28.908; 2. L. Camier (Honda) 1:29.000; 3. J. Robinson (Honda) 1:29.090; 4. S. Easton (Ducati) 1:29.361; 5. C. Crutchlow (Honda) 1:29.372; 6. P. Riba (Kawasaki) 1:29.598; 7. C. Jones (Honda) 1:29.725; 8. S. Andrews (Suzuki) 1:30.080; 9. R. Frost (Honda) 1:30.231; 10. J. da Costa (Suzuki) 1:30.372
Rookie on front row
Chris Jones continued his upward spiral in the British 125GP Championship by qualifying in second position at Silverstone. The rookie will start tomorrow’s 16-lap race from the front row for the fifth time in his debut season at this level on the Red Bull Honda RS125.
The talented 14-year-old has moved up to third place in the series after two wins and two other podium finishes over the last five rounds of the Honda-dominated championship. This impressive run of form belies his years and inexperience, but pays tribute to his natural ability – the reason why he was selected for the youth development programme.
Second after this morning’s first session, Jones improved his time by 0.371 seconds and held pole position until the last lap of the second qualifying period. James Westmoreland pipped the Droitwich starlet by a mere 0.021 seconds, highlighting how highly competitive the class has been in 2005.
Chris Jones: “It’s been a long break since the last round and I’ve been really looking forward to this event. Silverstone is a fantastic race track and competing here is another important part of the learning process for me this season.
“I’d like to thank Red Bull Honda for all the help they’ve given me to find such a good base setting on my RS125. I’m on a bit of a roll at the moment – let’s hope that it continues in tomorrow’s race.”
Qualifying: 1. J. Westmoreland (Honda) 1:33.709; 2. C. Jones (Red Bull Honda) 1:33.730; 3. K. Coghlan (Honda) 1:33.820; 4. B. Clark (Honda) 1:34.019; 5. R. Guiver (Honda) 1:34.271; 6. B. Smith (Honda) 1:34.483; 7. C.Elkin (Honda) 1:34.967; 8. J. Ford (Honda) 1:35.136; 9. A. Beech (Honda) 1:35.166; 10. D. Linfoot (Honda) 1:35.212