Brands BSB Final: Ray sets the pace in first practice

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Picture: Impact Images

Bennetts British Superbike Championship leader Bradley Ray was in control as Friday practice kicked off at Brands Hatch.

A 1’24.899 dominated the field by almost half a second as FP1 concluded with McAMS Yamaha’s Jason O’Halloran and Synetiq BMW’s Danny Buchan taking their places in the top three.

A dry but overcast Kent track greeted the Superbike class for the first practice of the final weekend as Oxford Products Ducati’s Tommy Bridewell commanded the early times with a 1’26.199. MCE’s Josh Brookes demoting his fellow Panigale rider by 0.016s with his fifth lap before the red flag came out for a technical issue on Christian Iddon’s Buildbase Suzuki at Westfield.

Honda’s Glenn Irwin sat third as the track went green with 32 minutes left on the clock. Series leader Ray less than two tenths adrift in fourth while Buchan rounded out the top five on the BMW.

The latter duo rose to the top as the session continued. The Rich Energy OMG Yamaha leading the way on 1’25.901 pace as Lee Jackson promoted the Cheshire Mouldings FS-3 Kawasaki up to fifth. O’Halloran was the next to climb, on his way to fourth before Ray moved the goalposts half a second clear and Irwin bettered to second.

Younger brother Andrew was next in line as he manoeuvred the second Synetiq M1000RR into third before O’Halloran and Peter Hickman promptly dropped him back. Six tenths covering the top six at the halfway stage with Brookes, Bridewell, Jackson, and Specsavers Suzuki’s Leon Jeacock completing the top ten.

Mar-Train Yamaha’s Jack Kennedy kicked off his second spin on the Superbike from 11th before Charlie Nesbitt bettered on the Buildbase GSX-R, the rookie duo running 1.4s off the R1 out front with 20 minutes left to run.

Bridewell was back in second as the second half fired up, Tom Sykes staking his claim on the edge of the top ten before Josh Owens became the next to claim the position on the Rapid Kawasaki.

The final five minutes found improvements from Hickman as the FHO claimed second, Ray upping the pace once again to 1’24.899 with O’Halloran completing the leading trio. Danny Kent promoted the Buildbase Suzuki to seventh with three to go, Brookes 0.053s behind, as both Buchan and O’Halloran took their shots at the runner-up position. The Yamaha winning out with a 1’25.312, four tenths off the fellow R1 of Ray, as the chequered flag dropped.

The top 10 battle concluded with FHO’s Ryan Vickers in the hotseat as Jackson and Owens completed the provisional Superpicks 12 ahead of the afternoon action.

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