Glenn Irwin set the quickest time in the final Bennetts British Superbike free practice session at Brands Hatch on Saturday morning, the Honda rider lapping almost half a second quicker than brother Andrew on the Synetiq BMW.
Bright, sunny conditions greeted the 27-strong field for the 30-minute session although the early stages saw just seven riders venture out on track with damp patches around the circuit. The Buildbase Suzuki pairing of Charlie Nesbitt and Christian Iddon leading the way on the timesheets, albeit with laps times in the 1’32’s.
Nesbitt was the first to drop below 1’30, posting a 1’29.174 that put him eight tenths of a second ahead of teammate Iddon, with FHO BMW’s Ryan Vickers slotting into third ahead of Dean Harrison on the DAO Kawasaki.
With 15 minutes to go, Iddon went quickest with a 1’29.124 but Nesbitt immediately responded with a 1’28.964 and it was at the midway point of the session when more riders started to venture out, 16 riders circulating the 2.43-mile circuit.
Iddon moved back to the top of the timing screens with a lap of 1’28.198 and with ten minutes to go, the running order was Iddon, Kyle Ryde (Rich Energy OMG Yamaha), Nesbitt, Leon Haslam (VisionTrack Kawasaki), Vickers, Harrison and Josh Brookes (MCE Ducati).
Iddon and Ryde were the first to lap in the 1’27s, still almost three seconds off Bradley Ray’s table-topping time from Friday, and, as expected, times and positions changed regularly in the final ten minutes, Ryde the first to knock Iddon off the top spot.
Glenn Irwin was the next to occupy the number one position with a 1’27.185 before he was bumped back down to second by Brookes with a 1’26.776, the time indicative of how track conditions were improving.
The Australian was unable to go any quicker but still placed third and it was Irwin who reclaimed the quickest time with a lap of 1’26.264 giving him a 0.466s advantage. Brother Andrew eventually placed second, just ahead of Brookes.
Lee Jackson (Cheshire Mouldings FS-3 Kawasaki) took an eventual fourth and was the last rider in the 1’26’s with Peter Hickman (FHO BMW), Iddon, Jason O’Halloran (McAMS Yamaha), Ryde, Jack Kennedy (Mar-Train Yamaha) and Haslam completing the top ten.