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Smrz makes Ducati history at Thruxton‏

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Millsport Ducati and Jakub ‘Kuba’ Smrz have grabbed the headlines this afternoon (2 August) by taking the first ever pole position for the 1199 Panigale in the British Superbike Championship. The sensational result came at the UK’s fastest circuit – Thruxton in Hampshire – as Smrz beat all of the championship front-runners to top spot.

Following a first front row earlier in the year at Snetterton, the team was confident that the elusive maiden pole was coming their way, but with conditions looking mixed at the high-speed Hampshire venue no-one dared predict it this weekend.

Smrz had been on the pace from the start of the race meeting, setting top ten times in both of the free practice sessions on Friday. With tricky conditions for FP3 this morning, the Czech rider proved he had the pace whatever the weather with another top ten time, and despite some huge downpours that threatened to half proceedings the track was dry when it was time for qualifying.

With confidence riding high, Smrz put in a great lap early on in the first part of the session, going third fastest and immediately returning to the pits happy that it would be enough. Times moved on another step in Q2, as Kuba made sure he progressed to the top-ten shootout with a tour two tenths quicker than his initial effort. The leap to pole position was, however, an incredible half a second, as the Ducati rider’s time of 1:15.281s outshone all of the established BSB contenders.

The team is understandably elated with the result, and it has been a long and committed road to this success by everyone at Millsport.

BSB pole-sitter Smrz said:

“It feels really good! Everything this season is new for us – we are working really hard to improve the bike, and it’s always good to have some reward for that. While today is good, we need to be fast in the races tomorrow as well but we are proving that we are going forward. To have pole with some things still to improve is cool.

“I really like tracks like this – it even reminds me a little bit of the legendary Phillip Island in Australia which is one of my favourite tracks. Pole is important, my team have found some solutions to our issues getting off the line, so hopefully tomorrow’s start will be good and we can fight for the podium.”

Millsport Ducati’s chief technician Steve Moore said:

“It’s been a long time coming, but we’ve proven that all the hard work has been worth it. The long-term commitment from our sponsors and team members have made this pole position possible, and I’d like to thank them, and of course Kuba for producing a fantastic lap!

“We’ve been working hard going through the data to help the Panigale get off the line better, so we’re hopeful that Kuba will be able to get away at the front tomorrow and bring home some silverware!”

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