Thruxton BSB: Hickman survives rain gamble for front row start

| | British Superbikes
Picture: Impact Images

Peter Hickman has admitted the tricky conditions in the final Bennetts British Superbike qualifying session at Thruxton nearly cost him a front row start for tomorrow’s first race.

The Smith’s BMW man, who led both of yesterday’s practice sessions in dominant fashion, will line up third on the grid after clocking a lap half a second off Scott Redding’s pole time.

Both preceding sessions, Q1 and Q2, had been faster than the final Q3, but spots of rain set in for the last segment and threw a spanner in the works, causing a number of the riders – including Hickman – to nearly chance it and wait out the weather.

“It was a little bit tricky there towards the end with the rain coming down and I didn’t really know quite how hard to push,” the Smith’s rider said. “But Thruxton’s a grippy circuit so it wasn’t ever going to affect it too much with the little amount we had.

When we went out, I thought ‘I’ll go out first in case it rains too much’, but when I went over the back it was raining quite a lot so I actually pulled in the same time as Brookes and waited about 20-30 seconds but then in my head I was thinking ‘if it keeps raining, it’ll only get worse’ so I’d be best to put a lap in early.

“I tried to put a couple of laps in steady and then go for a good one but by the time you’ve put in a couple laps steady around here the tyre is already gone. But one lap is one thing and 20 laps is another thing, and everyone knows it’s all about tyre life around here not an outright lap time.

“I’ve generally been pretty good in the past here, but we’ll have to just wait and see. I’m happy enough, front row is where we’ve been all weekend so it’s looking good.”