Jake Dixon fired a warning shot in this afternoon’s second Bennetts British Superbike free practice session as he skirted just above the outright lap record.
The RAF Regular and Reserves Kawasaki rider beat Danny Buchan and Leon Haslam to the top spot and Friday bragging rights with a late 1’26.071, the fastest time of the weekend so far and just 0.148s off Haslam's 2016 qualifying lap record of 1'25.923s.
Dixon was the first rider to crack the 27s as he laid down a 1’27.762 on his first flying lap, but it wasn’t long before best mate Buchan beat his mark by over 0.6s to snatch the top spot back.
But FP1 nearly-man Glenn Irwin was also on a charge, jumping 10 places into third just before Moto Rapido Ducati’s Tommy Bridewell pipped him to take over.
Moments later, however, first practice leader Haslam shot forward 21 places to push them both back, while RAF Regular and Reserves man Dixon set the fastest time of the weekend so far at 1’27.024, edging Buchan for the top spot.
Just over eight minutes into the session, however, Buildbase Suzuki’s Bradley Ray also laid down a 1’27.0s lap, only 0.009s off Dixon’s best, to beat Buchan to the second spot.
While the top 10 parked up in the pits for adjustments with 15 minutes completed, McAMS Yamaha’s Josh Brookes upped his pace to slot into seventh, just a few thousandths ahead of Luke Mossey.
But Haslam came out of the pits with even more pace than this morning and with just over 20 minutes remaining, he became the first rider this weekend to dip into the 26 bracket, setting the fastest lap of the session with a 1’26.780.
Thruxton podium man Peter Hickman and Tyco BMW’s Christian Iddon slotted into eighth and ninth, pushing Brookes back to 10th before the Australian hit the deck at Charlie’s, bringing an end to his session.
With five minutes left, FS-3 Racing’s Buchan bounded up the order ahead of Haslam with a 1’26.588, while Michael Laverty made inroads on the top five with a 1’27.468.
But Be Wiser Ducat’s Andrew Irwin nudged Laverty back a place as he slotted in behind brother Glenn, before Laverty shuffled around with his Northern Irish compatriots in the closing seconds.
Back at the front, however, Dixon had scorched into the lead with a 1’26.071s lap in the final 30s, leaving Buchan, Haslam and Glenn Irwin, the latter with an 11th-hour charge, as the only riders in the 1’26s.
Buildbase Suzuki’s Ray finished the session fifth ahead of Laverty and Richard Cooper, while Andrew Irwin, Smith’s BMW rider Hick,an and Iddon completed the top 10.