There were celebrations all round in the Halsall Biker Gear Kawasaki garage this afternoon as Jon Kirkham achieved the team’s best qualifying result of the year at Silverstone.
Two weeks ago in Assen, Kirkham started from pole position after setting the fastest lap in the first race but his best Saturday qualifying result had been seventh place until today, when he bagged fourth position in tricky conditions.
Heavy rainfall at lunchtime left the 3.667 mile circuit damp heading into the afternoon’s first qualifying session. Taking no risks, Kirkham headed out with full wet tyres setting strong pace from the off. Riders gambling with intermediate tyres pushed him down the order but his time was strong enough to progress to the second session in 14th.
Getting straight out in Q2 with an intermediate rear and wet front, Kirkham ran top ten pace from the early stages. His third and final lap saw him cross the line seventh before being pushed back to tenth by the chequered flag.
With a slick rear and inter front for the final Q3 session, he headed straight out of the box to set the third fastest time on his first flying lap. A time of 2:12.606 despite being held up on his final lap saw him cross the line fourth fastest.
“I’m pleased to qualify fourth but I’m also a bit annoyed! I left a big gap for Chris Walker and managed to catch him up but it was the last lap so I couldn’t back off and let him go, I had to pass him which lost us some time. Fourth is still good, it’s our best qualifying of the year so we’ll take that. We’ve made some big changes for the dry and the bike felt great in that session so hopefully it’ll work tomorrow too. It always helps starting towards the front, I just need to keep my cool but also be a bit aggressive in the early stages. If we have a good warm-up tomorrow, we should be on for a good result!”
Jack Valentine, Team Manager:
“We’ve been struggling to find a good set-up all weekend and made some huge changes after FP2. Jon felt comfortable in the wet this morning and he’s taken that on through into qualifying. We made the right tyre choices at the right times. We’ve got a great motorcycle and Jon’s happy with the result. Everything came together and I hope we can take it through to the race tomorrow. I’m pleased with our best qualifying of the year, to qualify fourth among all the showdown runners just shows what we can do as a team.”
Tomorrow’s races are set to get underway at 13:30 and 16:30 respectively.