The Bennetts Suzuki team has completed its first ever MCE British Superbike qualifying session, with Christian Iddon 13th on the time sheets despite suffering from illness.
Iddon, who has been under the weather all weekend, did enough in the first qualifying session to make it through to Q2. However, his best lap of 1:30.809 on board his GSX-R1000 wasn't enough to progress to Q3 and placed him on the fifth row of the grid.
Iddon said, "13th is not fantastic but we're somewhere we can race from. Being ill has just meant I haven't spent enough time on the bike doing long runs, so I haven't been able to give the right feedback to the team and what I have given has been a bit vague because my mind's been elsewhere. But I had a better feeling in qualifying and we've got a good base to work from now. I'm looking forward to trying to get a good start in the races and hopefully get into a rhythm, as I've not had one all weekend. If we can get a couple of solid top 10s from this weekend I'll be happy with that start, all things considered."
Josh Waters found himself inside the top 10 during Q1, but struggled in the second qualifying session with grip despite using the same set-up. He was unable to match his best time from the first session and will start race one from 20th on the grid.
Waters said, "We had a lot to work on in practice this weekend but I felt like we made a big step from the final free practice session to Q1. I was feeling a lot better and the times showed that. In Q2 we just struggled with rear grip again and I was a second slower, so that's something that we'll need to get to the bottom of for tomorrow's races. It's not where I want to be on the grid and I know the potential is there. We'll keep pushing and try harder tomorrow."
Team Manager Jack Valentine said, "It's coming together, although probably a bit slower than we'd like. But we're showing plenty of promise and I've been happy with the performance of the bikes. We've just had a few issues of inconsistency with rear grip which we need to work on for tomorrow. Christian actually went faster in the final free practice session than in qualifying, so we know where we can be, we just have a few things to sort to get there. Josh has also had issues with grip, while his team have also been working on the engine braking to get him where he can be. But we're a new team, it's our first qualifying session of the season, and we're confident there's more to come from the guys tomorrow."
Donington BSB Qualifying Result: 1. Ryuichi Kiyonari 2. James Ellison 3. Shane Byrne 4. Josh Brookes 5. Stuart Easton. 13. Christian Iddon (Bennetts Suzuki GSX-R1000). 20. Josh Waters (Bennetts Suzuki GSX-R1000).