Danny Buchan topped the final Bennetts British Superbike Championship free practice session at Oulton Park on Saturday morning, the Synetiq BMW runner the only rider to dip into the 1’33’s around the 2.69-mile circuit.
Bright, sunny conditions again greeted the field and it was Glenn Irwin (Honda Racing) who made the early running with a lap of 1’35.268s putting him ahead of Leon Haslam (VisionTrack Kawasaki), Tommy Bridewell (Oxford Products Ducati) and Rory Skinner (Cheshire Mouldings FS-3 Kawasaki).
Irwin was the first rider to go beneath 1’35, quickly followed by Bridewell and after ten minutes of the 20-minute session, they continued to lead the way with Kyle Ryde (Rich Energy OMG Racing Yamaha) now in third ahead of Irwin’s teammate Takumi Takahashi, Lee Jackson and Haslam.
Bridewell then upped the pace to a 1’34.209s, which put him 0.268s clear of Irwin and whilst the top four remained the same, Title Fighters Skinner and Friday’s pace setter Bradley Ray were now running in fifth and sixth respectively. Fellow Championship hopeful Jason O’Halloran (McAMS Yamaha) was also on the move, jumping up the order from 18th to 9th.
The Australian then went quicker again to go fifth quickest just as Buchan moved to the top of the leaderboard with a lap of 1’34.118s. That gave him a slender 0.091s advantage over Bridewell but next time around he went quicker still and a 1’33.927s confirmed his spot at the top of the pile.
Bridewell and Irwin held on to second and third with a late lap from Peter Hickman (FHO Racing BMW) elevating him to fourth ahead of O’Halloran and Ryde.
Tom Sykes, who spent the first half of the session in the garage, placed seventh on the MCE Ducati with Takahashi, Skinner and Ray completing the top ten. Reigning champion Tarran Mackenzie on the second McAMS machine, was 16th after completing just six laps.