PBM Kawasaki’s Shane Byrne has bagged top spot in this morning’s first British Superbike free practice session at Thruxton, demoting Alex Lowes to second before veteran Chris Walker jumped ahead of the Lincolnshire youngster with his final lap.
Lowes was leading on a 1’16.571 before Byrne came out for his final run and took top spot with 1’15.969 and was the only rider to dip under the 1’16 mark. Walker then nicked second with a 1’16.304 while Lowes’ WFR team-mate James Westmoreland found himself bumped down to fourth but less than three-quarters of a second off the pace.
Reigning champion Tommy Hill finished in fifth after sitting out much of session and only doing 11 laps. His time of 1’16.897 is just less than a second slower than Byrne but was enough to keep the Padgett’s Honda of Ian Lowry behind him. The young Irishman was second for a majority of the 50 minutes but just slid down the order.
Buildbase BMW’s Dan Linfoot is putting the power of his S1000RR to good use, taking seventh place with a 1’17.058 and has Josh Brookes’ Tyco Suzuki snapping at his heels. Title contender Michael Laverty is ninth and 1.4s off the pace while Graeme Gowland makes it three WFR Hondas in the top ten.
Luca Scassa, who has never seen the track before, is 11th on the second Padgett’s Fireblade with Quattro Kawasaki’s Gary Mason in 12th. Tristan Palmer, Stuart Easton and Michael Rutter round out the top 15. Championship leader Jon Kirkham is down in 18th while Noriyuki Haga is 27th and three seconds off the pace.