Jason O’Halloran topped the third and final free practice session at a sun-blessed Brands Hatch on Saturday morning, the McAMS Yamaha rider lapping 0.145s quicker than team-mate Tarran Mackenzie with Friday’s pace setter Bradley Ray (Rich OMG Racing Yamaha) in third.
Lee Jackson (Cheshire Mouldings FS-3 Kawasaki) was the first rider to dip into the 1’25’s with a 1’25.595s and that put him more than a quarter of a second clear of Mackenzie but he was then edged out by team-mate Rory Skinner who went 0.042s quicker than his fellow Kawasaki runner.
The Scot’s time at the top didn’t last long as O’Halloran bumped him down a place shortly afterwards and after ten minutes, the halfway point of the session, the running order was O’Halloran, Jackson, Tommy Bridewell (Oxford Products Ducati), Mackenzie and championship leader Ray.
O’Halloran extended his advantage over Jackson to 0.334s with a lap of 1’25.003s and it was soon a McAMS Yamaha 1-2 with Mackenzie moving up to second and cutting his team-mate’s advantage to 0.145s. Tom Sykes (MCE Ducati) was another man on the move as he jumped up the order to seventh.
Team-mate Josh Brookes soon joined him in the top ten, the ninth rider to drop into the 1’25’s but they were both almost a second behind the flying O’Halloran.
With two minutes to go, Ray moved up to third with Ryan Vickers, Kyle Ryde and Peter Hickman slotting into the lower half of the top ten, the latter only getting out on track with ten minutes to go.
There was to be no further changes at the head of the leaderboard and so O’Halloran and Mackenzie put themselves in a strong position ahead of qualifying later today with Ray’s similar R1 remaining in third.
Early pace setter Jackson held onto fourth but a late lap from Glenn Irwin (Honda Racing) saw him end the session in fifth, one place ahead of Bridewell. Skinner dropped back to seventh with Vickers, Ryde and Hickman completing the top ten.