Quattro Kawasaki's Karl Harris chased MCE British Superbike title fighter Shane Byrne for top spot in this morning's opening free practice session at Brands Hatch but is a full second slower than the local man.
Byrne lapped in 1'28.022 on the drying track, some three seconds a lap slower than Josh Brookes' record, with WFR Honda's Alex Lowes 0.002 further back in third and team-mate James Westmoreland in fourth on the second Fireblade after leading the session early on.
Chris Walker stayed ahead of Brookes on his Primo Kawasaki for fifth place while reigning champion Tommy Hill put in a last quick lap to being himself up to seventh place ahead of Tommy Bridewell on the Supersonic BMW. Noriyku Haga and Peter Hickman round out the top ten.
Samsung Honda's Michael Laverty finished second to last after putting in 13 laps of the Kent circuit and is nearly six seconds off the pace.
"The conditions were horrible, cold and wet till the last few minutes. We were using the hard compound tyre, trying to get a feeling with it, but it makes the bike feel bad. We'll continue working to try to make the softer tyre last longer as we can't make the hard one work," said the Irishman.
"We're between a rock and a hard place - the soft one doesn't last, the hard doesn't work. We've to work now to get the life span out of the soft that others like Shane Byrne have done. We got improvement at Silverstone till the last four or five laps, now we have to work to find more."