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Assen BSB: Byrne pips Haslam in second session

Be Wiser Ducati’s Shane Byrne improved his lap-time by over one second from this morning’s track activities, to head the MCE British Superbike free practice timesheets at Assen.

In the second session the reigning champion put down a 1’36.136 which was eight tenths under lap record pace. But then he had JG Speedfit Kawasaki’s Leon Haslam on the charge with 2016’s double race winner lapping only 0.5s slower than his title rival.

The Panigale appeared to suit the Dutch track as the Moto Rapido backed Ducati of John Hopkins was finding some solid strong form and a 1’36.706 was enough for him to go P3. Anvil Hire TAG Yamaha’s Josh Brookes still holds the lap record at the circuit and nearly matched the time set by Hopkins.


The Showdown contender clocked a 1’36.756, which was also under his existing lap record to go fourth on the screens, with fellow top six rider, RAF Reserves Kawasaki’s Jake Dixon in fifth. Smiths BMW’s Peter Hickman, who was the fastest person in the opening session, crashed unhurt at turn 9 on his 11th lap with 24 minutes left to go. He was third before the fall and slipped back to eighth overall.

Another showdown rider who tumbled in Assen was Honda Racing’s Jason O’Halloran. He was also declared OK at the trackside, but his 1’37.496 lap placed him 12th. Finishing FP2 ahead of the likeable Aussie was Bennetts Suzuki’s Sylvain Guintoli, who had another strong performance on-board the GSX-R 1000.

The former World Superbike champ went P6 and was only 0.06s off the best time of Jake Dixon. O’Halloran’s team-mate Dan Linfoot was seventh with Riders Cup challengers Ellison and Iddon rounding off the top 11, with Ray, Mossey and Irwin in 13th, 14th, and 15th respectively.

There were a few Pirelli National Superstock 1000 riders wildcarding this weekend in BSB, and they included Danny Buchan on the FS-3 Kawasaki, Tyco BMW’s Josh Elliott and Bennetts Suzuki’s Richard Cooper.

Buchan experienced a technical issue on his out-lap after an earlier FP1 crash, and then when he went back to the garage he experienced an oil leak, so was unable to put down a time. Cooper ended the afternoon in 11th, with young-gun Elliott in 18th.

Anvil Hire TAG Yamaha’s Shaun Winfield had to sit out the second free practice session after a crash this morning. He is having an x-ray on his chest and hand. He will be assessed tomorrow to see if he will be able to take part in the rest of the weekend’s activities.

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