Be Wiser Ducati’s Glenn Irwin has topped the combined timeheets at today’s Oulton Park Bennetts British Superbike test and also went under Josh Brookes’ lap record at the Cheshire circuit.
Irwin was never headed in all three sessions and ended with a 1’34.223 on his 27th lap of 29 to finish three-tenths of a second ahead of JG Speedfit Kawasaki’s Leon Haslam. The Carrickfergus rider was also more than two-tenths under Brookes’ 1’34.483 lap record, set in 2015.
Haslam finished on a 1’34.520 which kept him ahead 0.043s of reigning champion and title rival Shane Byrne, on the sister Ducati to Irwin’s.
Brookes, on the McAMS Yamaha, has not had the start to 2018 that he would want but a 1’34.875 in the final session will be getting the former champion closer to his happy place. The Bringelly rider ended six-tenths off the lead despite a small off in the last session.
Young-gun Jake Dixon was fifth and seven-tenths off the lead on his RAF Reservers Kawasaki while Richard Cooper was first of the Buildbase Suzukis in sixth place. He was just ahead of leading BMW rider Peter Hickman with Christian Iddon in eighth.
Series leader Bradley Ray, on the second Buildbase GSX-R, ended in ninth and almost 1.2s down while Jakub Smrz completed the top ten.
Jason O’Halloran flew the Honda Racing colours solo as team-mate Dan Linfoot is still laid up after his Brands crash. The Aussie put in a best of 1’35.547 for 11th, one ahead of Danny Buchan. Luke Mossey, Tommy Bridewell and rookie Gino Rea rounded out the top 15.
Michael Laverty will be disappointed with 16th place on the Tyco BMW while Tarran Mackenzie, who still has a broken wrist from his Donington off, will have found the physical nature of Oulton difficult while carrying an injury. He finished in 23rd overall with two Superstock bikes in front of him.