McAMS Yamaha’s Jason O’Halloran drew the first Bennetts British Superbike blood of 2021, topping all four sessions during day one of testing at Silverstone.
The 2020 runner-up put in a best lap of 53.606 on the National circuit to claim top spot from reigning champion and fellow Australian Josh Brookes.
“To be honest it was great to get back out on the bike. The first session was a little bit patchy, so we just did some laps to get the feeling back. The second session was really good for us. It was pretty much an identical bike to the one I rode here last year," said O'Halloran
“In the lunchbreak, the boys changed the engine and we tried the 2021 spec, which we tried this afternoon for the last two sessions. Although we ended up at the top, this slowed us down a bit – when you put a new spec in you have to work through things like fuelling and throttle cables, so we’ve just been doing laps this afternoon to get things to my liking.
“Compared with how I felt on the previous bike, the changes we’ve made have been really positive and I feel comfortable, we’ve just got to tweak it to make it my own again. We’ll do that tomorrow and also some chassis stuff, so we can look forward to that tomorrow.”
O’Halloran was three-tenths outside the lap record and the same amount ahead of Brookes’ works Ducati Panigale V4R. Team-mate Christian Iddon bagged third overall and less than a tenth further back.
Kyle Ryde showed promise with with the Rich OMG BMW, putting in a 53.906 for fourth place, trailing Iddon by just 0.005s. Xavi Fores, a WorldSBK race winner, took his FHO M1000RR to fifth with a 53.922 while former Moto3 world champ Danny Kent brushed off a crash to finish sixth.
Honda’s Glenn Irwin was seventh and 0.562 off the pace, just ahead of Tommy Bridewell’s Oxford Racing Ducati. Gino Rea and Tarran Mackenzie completed the top ten.
Series ‘rookie’ Takuma Takahashi took his works Honda to 13th on his first visit to the track, trailing Ryan Vickers and Danny Buchan. Andrew Irwin and Lee Jackson completed the top 15.