The final afternoon session was intense with Byrne one of just six riders to dip below the 1.20-minute barrier. His pace on race rubber is similar to the front row riders and he is counting on getting his trademark good starts tomorrow to challenge for the podium.
Steve Plater, standing in for the injured James Haydon, recorded his fastest lap at the end of the day, managing 19th on the fifth row of the grid.
Honda’s Jonathan Rea is on pole position after recording a 1:19.433 lap, a full 1.2 seconds below last year’s pole position.
“That qualifying session was fast - those boys were on it! I thought for sure a 1.19-lap would have put me on the front row but I’ve ended up fifth. I was biting the screen I was trying so hard.
“I have not followed any other riders at Croft. I’ve concentrated on my own riding and doing plenty of laps. In morning warm up I’ll try latching on to a few of the quicker qualifiers and see how I compare on race tyres.”
“This morning we made a significant improvement to my Rizla Suzuki by changing the gearing. It helped the bike to turn into corners and gave me a lot more confidence through the fast sections.
“The bike is handling better but a lack of grip from the rear tyre has held me back this afternoon. I am spinning the wheel almost everywhere and can’t get the power to the ground, which is frustrating. We know how to fix that and will be trying a few changes in warm-up ahead of the races.”
Niall Mackenzie - Race Operations Manager:
“It’s a pity not to have Shane on the front row – he missed a top-four slot by just 600ths of a second. That said, starting from fifth is right behind pole position and on the best side of the track for the first corner. The front row qualifying times were exceptional, but on race tyres Shakey is on a similar pace so the team is optimistic he can challenge for the podium.
“Steve continues to learn more about the GSX-R1000 and we will use morning warm-up to try to give him more grip so he can exploit the power of the Rizla Suzuki to the full. With a bit of luck he’ll be able to challenge for two top 10 finishes.”
Qualifying Positions: 1: Jonathan Rea (Honda) 1:19.433, 2: Leon Haslam (Ducati) +0.134, 3: Ryuichi Kiyonari (Honda) +0.162, 4: Gregorio Lavilla (Ducati) +0.430, 5: Shane Byrne (Rizla Suzuki) +0.496, 6: Karl Harris (Honda) +0.520, 7: Tommy Hill (Yamaha) +1.044, 8: Michael Rutter (Honda) +1.067, 9: Simon Andrews (Yamaha) +1.238, 10: Glen Richards (Honda) +1.424, 19: Steve Plater (Rizla Suzuki) +2.111.
Audi Performance Award (after 10 of 13 rounds): 1: Haslam 67, 2: Lavilla 60, 3: Harris 48, 4: Kiyonari 43, 5: Rea 42, 6: Rutter 31, 7: Shane Byrne (Rizla Suzuki) 28, 8: James Haydon (Rizla Suzuki) 12, 9, Dean Thomas (Kawasaki) 10, Hill 10, 11: Michael Laverty (Honda) 8.