Jason O’Halloran will start tomorrow’s opening Bennetts British Superbike race at Assen from fourth on the grid after an impressive performance in qualifying, while team-mate Tarran Mackenzie will face a fifth row start after another tough day in the Netherlands.
After setting the third quickest time on Friday, O’Halloran worked on race pace in Saturday’s morning session, rounding out FP3 seventh quickest before turning his attention to qualifying. Progressing through Q1 easily, O’Halloran led the way in the second qualifying session before setting out to fight for a front-row start. Aborting several laps early in Q3, the Aussie would narrowly miss out on the front row with his time of 1:36.023 to secure fourth on the grid.
While overnight changes saw a significant boost for Mackenzie, with the title fighter well over a second faster than his Friday pace, it wouldn’t quite be enough as he missed out on a spot in Q3 and will start the opening race 15th. The team will put their heads together tonight to come up with a plan to further improve their pace tomorrow.
Rookie Matt Truelove continued to show progress, shaving two seconds off his FP1 time by qualifying and will start the opening race 22nd on the grid.
Qualifying: 5th Time: 1’36.023
“That was a pretty good qualifying for us. We were making changes all the way through, but in general I feel really good and comfortable and I think we will have strong pace tomorrow. Q3 was a bit of a scrappy session and I feel like we missed a bit of time through that but I’m happy enough, the boys have done a really good job. The biggest thing for me is I feel I’m making a big step with my physical condition and that’s going to improve as the weeks go on. I’m happy to be disappointed with fourth. The last few rounds I’ve just been happy to be here and now we’re back up front and challenging these front boys so we’ll see what we can do tomorrow.”
Qualifying: 15th Time: 1’36.908
“That wasn’t the plan. We have struggled all weekend, I haven’t had the best feeling with the bike. We made a step this morning and went a bit faster again in qualifying but it’s not enough. I need to find something in myself and we need to find something with the bike for tomorrow and hopefully we can have a better day. 15th isn’t ideal, but we’ll try and get a good start, keep smiling and do my best.”
Qualifying: 22nd Time: 1’38.410
“I’m happy with that, we’ve come a long way since FP1 and the time shows the improvement we’ve made. I’m feeling confident ahead of the races tomorrow, they’ll be two long races around here but I’m looking forward to getting stuck in. Top 20 is the aim and if we can score some points that would be mega!”
“Jason is riding really well. It’s been coming for a while but his shoulder injury has held him back a bit but we’re starting to see what he is capable of now. I think he was a bit disappointed with fourth on the grid but he shouldn’t be, race pace is looking good and I genuinely believe he can fight for it tomorrow. It’s always a good scrap around here so it’ll be tough but I am excited to see what he can do. Clearly there are some issues on Tarran’s side, both he and the bike are capable of more around here, he showed that last year and Jason is showing it this year. We never give up, the boys will put their heads together this evening and come up with a plan for what to try in warm-up. 15th on the grid isn’t ideal, but there are plenty of passing opportunities around here so we’ll try and salvage something!”
Round 10 – Assen – Qualifying
|1||Scott REDDING – Be Wiser Ducati||1:35.588|
|2||Tommy BRIDEWELL – Oxford Racing Ducati||1:35.763|
|3||Luke STAPLEFORD – Buildbase Suzuki||1:35.803|
|4||Jason O’HALLORAN – McAMS Yamaha||1:36.023|
|5||Josh BROOKES – Be Wiser Ducati||1:36.086|
|6||Danny BUCHAN – FS3 Kawasaki||1:36.828|
|7||Ryan VICKERS – RAF Kawasaki||1:36.865|
|8||Christian IDDON – Tyco BMW||1:36.877|
|9||Glenn IRWIN – Tyco BMW||1:37.346|
|10||Hector BARBERA – Quattro Plant Kawasaki||1:36.602|
|11||Peter HICKMAN – Smiths BMW||1:36.641|
|12||Xavi FORES – Honda Racing||1:36.678|
|15||Tarran MACKENZIE – McAMS Yamaha||1:36.908|
|22||Matt TRUELOVE – McAMS Yamaha||1:38.410|