Reigning MCE British Superbike Champion Tommy Hill just edged out two-time title holder Shane Byrne in the opening free practice session at Cadwell Park and then promptly crashed at Mansfield but walked away from the incident.
The Swan Yamaha man had spent a lot of the stint behind Byrne's Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki but with only a few minutes left to run, put in a 1'28.102 to top the Kent-born rider, whose lap of 1'28.217 had stood for most of the 50 minutes.
Local boy Peter Hickman occupies third place on a 1'28.340 but was lapping consistently around that time so it was no one-lap wonder from the Buildbase BMW man while Alex Lowes, on the WFR Honda, is in fourth and three-tenths behind Hill.
Samsung Honda's Michael Laverty, looking to secure his Showdown place this weekend, was demoted to fifth by Lowes' last lap and is six-tenths off the pace on a 1'28.702 while Bathams Kawasaki's Danny Buchan slipped down to seventh from an earlier third place position - the yonungster rewarding Nick Morgan for his faith.
Team-mate Michael Rutter is one place behind while Karl Harris returns to one of his favourite tracks on the Quattro Kawasaki to re-commence the jump battle with Tyco Suzuki's Josh Brookes, who had a poor session but clawed his way back to 10th in the final stages. Jon Kirkham separates the pair.
Brookes' team-mate Alastair Seeley showed early promise but ended up behind the Bringelly man with James Westmoreland, Luca Scassa, Mark Aitchison and and Stuart Easton rounding out the top 15.
Moto Rapido Ducati's Abdulaziz Binladin was airlifted to hospital with suspected broken ribs after he tangled with Robbin Harms in the early stages, necessitating red flags. The injury is not serious but it is a faster way to get to hospital from the middle of nowhere.