After the weather-affected first round at Brands Hatch two weeks ago, everyone was hoping for dry conditions but yesterday's cool and blustery weather gave way to showers and heavy rain, none more so than just before the important fifty-minute qualifying session this afternoon.
With some radical changes and alterations to both of the HRC-backed Hydrex Bike Animal Honda Fireblades, riders James Ellison and Guy Martin were hopeful going into the session but at the end, just as the track dried up, Ellison's best time put him on row four of the grid with Martin joining him one row further back.
However, with drier and warmer conditions hopefully forecast for tomorrow, the team is hopeful of a good result in both twenty-lap races.
James Ellison: "It's turning into a difficult weekend again. We're still trying to find a good setting and I'm not comfortable on the bike just yet but we're not too far away. It's a fast pace out there so we need to be on the money to get some good results. I'm hoping for a dry race tomorrow as we've still got a lot of work to do with the settings, but we're getting there."
Guy Martin: "I'm still struggling with the front end and I've got not a lot of confidence in the bike at the moment, especially in the wet. We're trying to get a better feeling in the forks but we can't do anything drastic. We missed the first session on Friday due to a misfire but good things come to those who wait and it will come."
Shaun Muir (Team Owner): "James has had some problems with the new front forks which we are in the process of sorting. He wants the confidence to push harder on the front but we've had problems developing the PI system so we've had to shelve that and run the bikes on the HRC kit parts. I would have liked him to be on the second or third row but we've got a good base setting to start the race. If the conditions are fair, I think James should get a couple of top eight positions. Guy has a vague feeling from the front that he needs to iron out and needs to get his confidence up in the next two events in readiness for the roads. I think it was the right decision to run with the Fireblades on the roads events and it is looking positive."
Race one gets underway at 1.00pm on Sunday, with race two at 3.30pm.
1, Shane Byrne (Ducati) 1m19.704s, 2, Leon Haslam (Honda) 1m19.872s, 3, Michael Rutter (Ducati) 1m19.949s, 4, Cal Crutchlow (Honda) 1m20.026s, 5, Karl Harris (Yamaha) 1m20.372s, 6, Leon Camier (Ducati) 1m20.491s, 7, Adam Jenkinson (Honda) 1m20.842s, 8, Michael Laverty (Suzuki) 1m20.858s, 9, John Laverty (Ducati) 1m21.205s.. 15, James Ellison (Hydrex Bike Animal Honda) 1m22.056s. 19, Guy Martin (Hydrex Bike Animal Honda) 1m23.194s.
Round 1 - 4th/6th April - Brands Hatch GP, Kent
Round 2 - 18th/20th April - Thruxton, Hants
Round 3 - 3rd/5th May - Oulton Park, Cheshire
Round 4 - 24th/26th May - Donington Park, Leics
Round 5 - 13th/15th June - Snetterton, Norfolk
Round 6 - 27th/29th June - Mallory Park
Round 7 - 18th/20th July - Oulton Park, Cheshire
Round 8 - 8th/10th August - Knockhill, Fife
Round 9 - 23rd/25th August - Cadwell Park, Lincs
Round 10 - 12th/14th September - Croft, North Yorkshire
Round 11 - 26th/28th September, Silverstone, Northants
Round 12 - 10th/12th October - Brands Hatch Indy, Kent