Glenn Irwin dipped under the lap record at Knockhill on Saturday morning with the Honda rider topping the third Bennetts British Superbike Championship free practice session by almost a quarter of a second from the Cheshire Mouldings by FS-3 Kawasaki pairing of Rory Skinner and Lee Jackson.
Drizzle at the beginning of the session soon disappeared and it was Leon Haslam (VisionTrack Kawasaki) who led the way in the early stages with a lap of 48.371s which was three tenths of a second quicker than he’d gone on Friday.
Kyle Ryde, Tommy Bridewell and championship leader Bradley Ray soon pushed him back to fourth and it was Skinner who was the first to drop into the 47s with a 47.797s quickly followed by Storm Stacey (LKQ Euro Car Parts Kawasaki).
Next time around and Skinner went quicker again, a lap of 47.506s some four tenths quicker than his Friday time; indeed, it was quicker than anyone had managed on the previous day.
Teammate Jackson slotted into second, a tenth slower, with Stacey continuing to hold onto third at the mid-way point of the twenty minute session. Jason O’Halloran (McAMS Yamaha) and Ray (Rich Energy OMG Yamaha) were now in fourth and fifth and, at the time, the last two riders to lap below 48s.
Ryde and Danny Buchan (Synetiq BMW) were the next two riders to drop into the 47s but no sooner had they done so then the red flag was out due to debris on the track after Leon Jeacock came to grief from the Specsavers Suzuki at turn two, the rider ok.
The session resumed with nine minutes to go and Tarran Mackenzie was the first mover, the reigning champion jumping up to fourth on the McAMS Yamaha but he was soon back in seventh with O’Halloran, Christian Iddon (Buildbase Suzuki) and Irwin all going quicker. With four minutes to go, Buchan pushed the Yamaha rider back another place.
Irwin then went to the top of the leaderboard with a lap of 47.393s under the existing course lap record and 0.113s ahead of Skinner and in the final minute Mackenzie went down at turn two, fortunately without injury, although the R1 was left very second hand.
In the final seconds, Irwin went quicker again at 47.263s but there were to be no changes behind and Skinner took second ahead of Jackson, Ray. O’Halloran and Buchan with Iddon, Ryde, Stacey and Mackenzie completing the top ten.