Bennetts British Superbike series leader Brad Ray topped the opening free practice this lunchtime on a drying Brands Hatch surface, beating Lee Jackson by three-tenths with Peter Hickman in third place.
Ray, on the still-called Rich Energy OMG Yamaha, set a 1’26.679 to bag top spot with only a total of six laps under his belt with Cheshire Mouldings Kawasaki man Jackson on a 1’26.938. FHO BMW’s Hickman was only 0.016s further back.
A shower before the start of the session left a damp track, but towards the closing stages of the session, a dry line was forming and the times began to tumble.
Hickman launched up the order in the final stages of the session to push Rory Skinner into fourth place. The Scot had been one of the first riders to head out onto the Grand Prix circuit and ended the session 0.416s off the fastest time of Ray that came on his penultimate lap.
Kyle Ryde was fifth fastest, just ahead of Glenn Irwin for Honda Racing UK. Irwin had been at the top of the times earlier in the session, but the final laps pushed him down the order to finish ahead of Christian Iddon who returns from injury on the Buildbase Suzuki.
Josh Brookes had a spell at the top of the times during the session, but a crash in the final minutes at Druids left him eighth fastest. The double champion ending the session just ahead of Danny Kent and Andrew Irwin who completed the top ten.