Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki’s Shane Byrne held on to the top spot in the MCE British Superbike free practice timesheets at his home circuit of Brands Hatch, and successfully out-paced title challenger Buildbase BMW’s Ryuichi Kiyonari.
A 1’26.281 was good enough to head the FP2 sheets, but his main challenger was GBmoto Kawasaki’s James Ellison who made a late charge and went 0.06 seconds faster than Milwaukee Yamaha’s Josh Brookes and Kiyonari - with only one-eighth hundredths of a second separating the three riders.
Initially on track emerged the battle of the Showdown riders, involving Byrne, Kiyo and Brookes with the top of the timesheets changing between the battling trio. With 15 minutes remaining it was Byrne who was setting the pace with a 1’26.640. But Ellison also wanted to join the war for four party and a 1’26.705 was good enough to place him second on the timing-screens with three minutes remaining.
Tyco Suzuki’s John Hopkins appeared to have had a bit of a resurgence and made his way into the top five, going quicker than Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki’s Stuart Easton, and Halsall Racing’s Jon Kirkham in the process.
Some riders took a tumble on the Kent track, including Quattro Plant Kawasaki’s Howie Mainwaring who fell unhurt at Sterlings. At the flag Showdown riders Milwaukee Yamaha’s Tommy Bridewell and Quattro Plant Kawasaki’s Dan Linfoot finished the session inside the top ten in eighth and ninth respectively. Ridersmotorcycles.com BMW’s Martin Jessopp rounded up the top ten.
Fellow Showdown contender GBmoto Kawasaki’s Chris Walker finished in 12th. Jakub Smrz made his return to the BSB paddock today on his Ducati but under new title sponsors, Lloyd British. The former World Superbike contender has been out with a wrist injury since Cadwell Park, but ended the session in 21st.