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Brands BSB: Byrne quickest in final free practice

Be Wiser Ducati’s Shane Byrne continued to dominate at Brands Hatch as he ended this morning’s Bennetts British Superbike Championship final free practice on top.

After yesterday’s wet start, the weather had picked up this morning and the paddock was greeted with blue skies, bright sunshine and a track temperature of around 26 degrees as the riders headed out for free practice three.

Following a winter of colder weather at the Spanish tests, this was the hottest temperature the riders have encountered so far this year.


And it turned out to be a relatively uneventful session, as the riders used it simply to get a feel for their bikes in the hotter conditions.

JG Speedfit Kawasaki’s Leon Haslam emerged fastest after the first few laps, as he set a lap of 45.659secs, closely followed by the Smiths BMW of Peter Hickman.

Michael Laverty went top after 15 minutes with a 45.655, but it lasted less than a minute as Byrne stole the spot with a 45.512.

With 20 minutes to go, Taylor Mackenzie crashed his Moto Rapido Ducati at Graham Hill Bend, but walked away unhurt.

In the closing five minutes, everyone picked up the pace a little, Byrne clocking a 45.213 as Haslam crept up to second.

Smiths Racing’s Sylvain Barrier became the second rider to crash out as he tipped off his BMW at Clearways with around two minutes to go, as most of the pack started to improve their times.

Byrne’s lap was unable to be matched, and instead it became a battle for second, which eventually went the way of Tyco BMW’s Christian Iddon, while Byrne’s team-mate, Glenn Irwin, shot up to claim third in the closing seconds.

Haslam ended the session fourth, ahead of double Donington winner Bradley Ray, who had made a huge improvement since yesterday to finish fifth. 

After his early show of speed, Laverty had to make do with the sixth fastest lap ahead of Ray’s Buildbase Suzuki team-mate Richard Cooper, Honda’s Jason O’Halloran, Anvil Tag Hire Yamaha’s James Ellison and Josh Brookes, who powered his McAMS Yamaha to 10th.

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