Honda’s Glenn Irwin headed an earlier than scheduled BSB FP1 session as wet weather threatened to impact the running at Donington Park.
A 1’30.611 set the Bennetts British Superbike pace as day one got underway at the Derby track, with championship leader Bradley Ray and FHO BMW’s Peter Hickman completing the top three.
Rich Energy OMG Yamaha’s Kyle Ryde took charge as the damp morning action began at Donington Park with a 1’34.296 from BMW’s Danny Buchan and Hickman. Christian Iddon, Tarran Mackenzie and Rory Skinner missing from proceedings following the dramatic visit to Oulton Park with Charlie Nesbitt in on the Buildbase Suzuki and Mar-Train’s Jack Kennedy making up the numbers for the final two rounds.
The British Supersport Champion didn’t get off to the best of starts after a crash at the final corner on his third lap. Buchan taking control on the Synetiq M1000RR after 15 minutes on track before Ryde hit back with a ’33.3.
Crow Performance’s Chrissy Rouse suffered the next fall, with a slide at Craner Curves. MCE Ducati’s Josh Brookes and Honda’s Takumi Takahasi rounding out the top five at the halfway stage before FHO’s Ryan Vickers bettered the pair by two tenths.
Ryo Mizuno was the next to claim fourth as Honda’s charge in the challenging conditions continued. Tom Sykes, Glenn Irwin, Ray, Tommy Bridewell, Lee Jackson and Andrew Irwin yet to set times as the second half got going with Jason O’Halloran running tentatively at the back of the pack and ten seconds off the pace after his painful Oulton experience.
Takahasi rose to lead the way by 0.033s in the final third. Leon Haslam placing the VisionTrack Kawasaki in eighth as Bridewell suffered a major moment on his first hot lap effort with the Oxford Products Ducati.
Haslam briefly hit the top before Irwin set the pace seven tenths clear on the Honda with a 1’32.494. His younger brother following suit, to third, moments later before Ryde once again sat second.
Improving conditions found the times begin to fall as Ray bettered his teammate for runner-up honours with ten minutes to go. Ryde answering with the fastest lap so far, a 1’32.161, with Haslam in hot pursuit before the OMG riders switched again out front and Buchan split the pair next time around.
Glenn Irwin was back in second with his sixth attempt, a tenth shy of series leader Ray, before he bettered overall two laps later - the pair over a second ahead of the rest of the field. Brookes improving to eighth as teammate Sykes circulated ten places back.
The penultimate minute found Bridewell into the top ten with Andrew Irwin holding the initial gateway to the Superpicks 12 in the early stages. FS3-Kawasaki’s Jackson demoting him out as the session counted down before the Northern Irishman hit back with his final effort on his way to eighth.
The elder Irwin completed FP1 in charge thanks to his 1’30.611 from Ray, Hickman and Ryde. Haslam, Buchan and Takahashi heading the younger brother with Mizuno, Brookes, Bridewell and Storm Stacey holding the final top 12 positions.