Showdown contender Jake Dixon beat a spell of foul weather to top the timesheets in the final seconds of this morning’s first Bennetts British Superbike free practice session.
The RAF Regular and Reserves Kawasaki rider had been lingering in the top 10 for most of the session, but scorched to the top with the only 1’34s lap of the day so far - a 1’34.737 - which put him almost four tenths ahead of his main title rival Leon Haslam seconds before the skies opened.
McAMS Yamaha’s Josh Brookes came out of the gates fighting, hitting the top of the times with a 1’37.395 on his third lap of the session, just 0.012s clear of Peter Hickman and a mere 0.091s ahead of Richard Cooper.
But Smith’s Racing BMW’s Hickman then became the first man to dip into the 1’36 mark with a 1’36.403, leading Honda Racing’s Jason O’Halloran and Cooper as Brookes was relegated to fourth.
Hickman then scorched into the 1’35s with a 1’35.595 just before Bridewell joined him in the ‘35 club, 0.112s adrift, before Dixon, Brookes and Ellison all slotted into the 1’35s as the first round of adjustments got underway.
When the bikes emerged back out on track, it was Mossey who shot to the top of the timesheets with a 1’35.499, but his lead didn’t last long as Hickman went quickest yet again with a 1’35.382.
Moments later, however, both Buchan and Brookes shoved him back to third as the Aussie went fastest with just over four minutes remaining. And although FS-3 Racing’s main man nudged Brookes right back into P2, it was Dixon who stole P1 just before rain drops began to fall in sector four.
After the chequered flag, Leon Haslam stuck his head into the top three for the first time all session with a 1’35.118 that put him second fastest, shoving Buchan back to third ahead of Buildbase Suzuki’s Cooper and Brookes, who rounded out the top five.
Hickman finished sixth quickest ahead of Mossey and O’Halloran, while Ellison and Bradley Ray completed the top 10.