Leon Haslam topped the final Bennetts British Superbike Championship practice session at Thruxton on Saturday morning with the VisionTrack Kawasaki rider dipping below the lap record with a time of 1’14.493s.
That put him 0.1s ahead of Peter Hickman (FHO Racing BMW) with Glenn Irwin (Honda Racing) a tenth further back in third.
It was Cheshire Mouldings FS-3 Kawasaki’s Lee Jackson who set the initial pace with a 1’15.156s, which was immediately quicker than the time he’d set on Friday but Haslam soon upstaged him and, indeed, his lap of 1’14.592s bettered Jason O’Halloran’s leading time of 1’14.723s from the opening day.
The Australian was the second rider in the 1’14s and after five minutes of the twenty-minute session, the running order was Haslam, O’Halloran, Jackson, Bradley Ray, Rory Skinner and Luke Mossey, the latter again going well on the iForce Lloyd & Jones BMW.
Haslam improved upon his earlier time with a 1’14.493s, which was almost a second quicker than what he’d managed on Friday and quicker than Josh Brookes’ lap record of 1’14.655s, to lead the session from O’Halloran by almost half a second. Andrew Irwin then showed significant improvement with his lap of 1’15.251s on the Synetiq BMW not only putting him fifth but also almost half a second quicker than his Friday time when he was 15th overall.
With two minutes to go, Hickman jumped up to second with a 1’14.593s, putting him exactly a tenth behind Haslam, and teammate Ryan Vickers was also going well as he slotted into sixth. Irwin and Mossey dropped out of the top six as a result with the latter also receiving a black flag in the closing stages.
The top two of Haslam and Hickman remained untouched but Glenn Irwin moved up to fourth in the final minute and then managed to squeeze in one last lap to climb above O’Halloran and go into third. The McAMS Yamaha rider was then pushed back to fifth by Kyle Ryde and was the last rider to lap in the 1’14’s.
Jackson ended up sixth with Vickers, Ray, Andrew Irwin and Mossey completing the top ten. Brookes improved upon his Friday lap time by almost half a second but the MCE Ducati still found himself back in 24th, some 1.7s adrift of Haslam.