Danny Buchan led Leon Haslam as he posted the fastest time of the weekend in free practice three at Snetterton.
In a session which was potentially hampered in the final minutes by a small rain shower, it was the recently-wed FS-3 Racing Kawasaki man who took bragging rights with the fastest time of 1’47.575s ahead of this afternoon’s qualifying.
After very slight spots of rain half an hour before the session, it had cleared up by the time the bikes hit the track at 10am, leaving the track dry with a temperature of 23 degrees.
Buildbase Suzuki’s Bradley Ray set the pace early on as he stuck in a 1’48.044 on his fourth lap as the rest were still running around in the ‘49s.
Remarkably, the next person to hit the ‘48s was rookie Andrew Irwin, who jumped ahead of his older brother and Be Wiser Ducati team-mate up to P2 with just over 30 minutes to go.
The next rider to hit the top was Buchan, who broke into the 1’47s 20 minutes in, closely followed by JG Speedfit’s Luke Mossey who moved up to second.
A quiet 10 minutes followed as most of the pack headed into the pits, and as the final six minutes arrived, it seemed things could be about to change as McAMS Yamaha’s Taz MacKenzie moved up to fourth.
However, any chance of major changes were ruled out as drops of rain in sector three were reported, which quickly became all sectors.
It meant Buchan’s earlier lap was the one which stood, as he ended the session fastest ahead of JG Speedfit’s Haslam, as Mossey finished third quickest.
Ray was fifth behind MacKenzie, while RAF Regular & Reserves Kawasaki man Jake Dixon set the sixth best time.
Seventh was the returning Dan Linfoot, who once again emerged the fastest of the two Honda Racing riders, as Glenn Irwin was eighth. The second Honda of Jason O’Halloran clocked the ninth quickest time as Christian Iddon on the Tyco BMW rounded out the top 10 on his return from injury.
But one rider who didn’t set a time was Movuno.com Halsall Racing’s Tommy Bridewell, who spent the session stuck in the pits as his crew worked hard to fix a gearbox issue with his Suzuki.