Fores splashes to maiden BSB pole at Knockhill as Ducati struggles

Xavi Fores scores Honda's first BSB pole position in two years as Josh Brookes and Scott Redding qualify only 15th and 16th at a stormy Knockhill
Fores splashes to maiden BSB pole at Knockhill as Ducati struggles

Xavi Fores will start on a Bennetts British Superbike Championship pole position for the first time in his career after keeping his cool in treacherous weather conditions during qualifying at a stormy Knockhill.

Whilst the venue basked in sunshine throughout the day, the weather turned quickly in the Scottish Highlands just ahead of the original 4pm qualifying kick-off time, with torrential rain forcing a series of delays due to track conditions.

The session eventually started two hours behind schedule at 6pm, albeit still in difficult conditions, with Fores quickly finding his rhythm on the Honda CBR1000RR to feature inside the top three almost throughout as lap times steadily improved.

In the end a 51.577secs lap – only four seconds slower than the dry lap times despite the wet conditions – proved the definitive effort by Fores, the ex-WorldSBK front runner becoming the first Spaniard since Gregorio Lavilla in 2007 to claim a pole position in BSB. It is also Honda’s first since Jason O’Halloran achieved the feat at Silverstone in 2017.

With the order being shaken up by the onslaught of rain, which began to fall more heavily in the final minutes to deny any last gasp attempts, it was a sobering session for the championship leading Ducati contingent with the bike’s straight line speed advantage of no benefit at this circuit in these conditions.

It means series leader Tommy Bridewell could only manage 10th on the Oxford Racing Panigale, while Be Wiser PBM riders Josh Brookes and Scott Redding – winners of the last seven races - face a challenge to get on the podium from 15th and 16th respectively.

Keith Farmer qualified second on the Tyco BMW but may not be able to take it up after suffering a heavy fall at Butchers shortly after setting his best time. Appearing to get caught up with the bike as it spiralled, Farmer needed to be stretchered off course, but was conscious.

Quickest in the dry FP3, Danny Buchan kept himself in a good position for a victory challenge should race day return to sunnier conditions in third place aboard the FS-3 Kawasaki.

Tarran Mackenzie gets underway from fourth position as the highest-placed Yamaha rider, while Andrew Irwin consolidated Honda’s strong form in the wet in fifth place.

Christian Iddon will start sixth on the second of the Tyco BMWs ahead of top Suzuki representative Luke Stapleford on the factory Buildbase machine, Jason O’Halloran and series returnee Ben Currie, the Australian impressing in the slippery conditions.