Glenn Irwin edged Jake Dixon by a mere 0.007s to lead this afternoon’s second Bennetts British Superbike practice session.
Still on the hunt for his first BSB win of the season, the Be Wiser Ducati rider set the fastest time of the weekend to hold off the championship underdog for Friday honours.
RAF Regular and Reserves Kawasaki’s Dixon was straight into the 1’26 bracket with his first flying lap as he led his title rival Leon Haslam into the top two.
But JG Speedfit man Haslam took over moments later before Moto Rapido Ducati’s Tommy Bridewell put the thundering Panigale at the top of the timesheets with a 1’26.123.
Bridewell’s reign didn’t last, however, as McAMS Yamaha’s Taz Mackenzie broke into the 1’25s with a 1’25.740, leading team-mate Josh Brookes by just over two tenths of a second.
FS-3 Racing Kawasaki’s Danny Buchan slipped into third just behind them with just over 20 minutes remaining but couldn’t break into the 1’25s and match pace.
But just a few minutes later, Irwin split the McAMS duo with a 1’25.907 to go second quickest before scorching to a 1’25.535 to take the top spot from Mackenzie, who crashed at Surtees seconds later.
With just over five minutes left to run, Tyco BMW man Christian Iddon powered into the lead with a 1’25.343, but Irwin went even quicker to take the top slot back with a 1’25.262 as Brookes followed him up the board to take over second.
But in a last-ditch effort as the chequered flag flew, Dixon nudged the Australian back to third as he set a lap just 0.007s behind Irwin.
First practice leader Peter Hickman made a late dash up the order to put his Smith’s Racing BMW ahead of Haslam and Buildbase Suzuki’s Richard Cooper.
After being served a black and orange flag for a mechanical issue in the first session this morning and binning it at Surtees seconds before the flag this afternoon, OMG Racing Suzuki’s Gino Rea finished eighth ahead of Mackenzie and Anvile Hire TAG Racing’s James Ellison