Superbikes: Back from brink

Gregorio Lavilla bounced back from a break-down to take pole ahead of today's round of the British Superbike Championship at Silverstone.

Gregorio Lavilla bounced back from a break-down to take pole ahead of today's round of the British Superbike Championship at Silverstone.

The reigning champ's qualifying session initially looked doomed yesterday afternoon, when his Airwaves Ducati suffered engine failure with 37 minutes remaining, forcing the Spaniard to run back to the garage and jump on his No 2 machine.

With a new-look bike - in black instead of red - Lavilla was quickly back on the pace and with just eight minutes to go, set a hot lap of 1.25.174, a time which went unmatched.

"I was disappointed at first as I was feeling pleased with the No 1 bike. But the engine seemed to go and I couldn't even get it back to the garage," he said. "So I had to rush back for the second bike. But once I got out I knew it was running well."

Lavilla, currently lying second in the championship behind team-mate Leon "Pocket Rocket" Haslam, knows he must capitalise on his pole today before heading to the showdown at Brands Hatch in a fortnight - where double points are up for grabs to compensate for the cancelled round in Ireland earlier this year.

"We are at the point now when it's all about the championship," he admitted last night. "It won't be easy, but we need to get at least one victory. We need to be arriving at Brands in a strong position to have any chance."

Second on the grid for today's two races is Haslam, who leads Lavilla by 15 points. "I'm happy with second, although I would prefer to have been ahead of Greg," he said.

HM Plant Honda's Ryuichi Kiyonari was third quickest in yesterday's qualifier, despite crashing out at Maggotts with 16 minutes remaining. Dennis Hobbs starts the Supersport race in fifth place, after impressive laps all weekend.

Meanwhile, in the Superstock class, Gateshead's Chris Coates was lucky to escape a crash on Friday without serious injury.

The 20-year-old lost the front end of his Krystal Racing Space Air Yamaha in first qualifying.

He walked away with cuts and bruises, and later needed fluid draining from his elbow. He has been passed fit to ride and will start from the back of the grid.

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