FHO BMW’s Peter Hickman topped the opening Bennetts British Superbike free practice at Oulton Park this lunchtime, leading Danny Buchan by two-tenths with series leader Brad Ray in third.
Hickman set a 1’34.336 with his final run to oust Synetiq BMW man Buchan from the top of the timesheet while Ray, who holds the circuit lap record, was a further 0.064s in arrears.
Hickman moved to the top in the final five minutes of the session, with the Showdown spoilers leading the way from championship leader Bradley Ray, who was eased back into third in the final ten minutes.
Leon Haslam was back in the top five on his return to Oulton Park; the VisionTrack Kawasaki rider edged out another Showdown contender, Kyle Ryde in the closing moments to take fourth.
Glenn Irwin had led earlier in the session for Honda Racing UK and he was sixth at the chequered flag, just ahead of brother Andrew who had a crash towards the end of the session.
Tommy Bridewell was the fifth of the Showdown contenders in eighth place for the Oxford Products Racing Ducati team, just ahead of Lee Jackson and Jason O'Halloran who completed the top ten.
Tarran Mackenzie and Rory Skinner were outside of the top ten in 12th and 14th respectively.