Scott Redding took early control of Bennetts British Superbike action on the Donington Park National circuit as he led a Be Wiser Ducati one-two in first practice.
The former MotoGP rider edged team-mate Josh Brookes by just over two hundredths of a second to nick FP1 bragging rights.
Oulton Park winner Brookes hit the top of the times on the first flying laps ahead of Dan Linfoot, but the Aussie soon became the first man in the 1’08s as he led SIlverstone winner Josh Elliott.
It was disaster for Brixx Ducati’s Sylvain Barrier on his opening flyer, however, as he joined the Craner Club no more than three minutes into the session
But the times continued to tumble and just five minutes into the session, championship leader Tarran Mackenzie clocked a 1’07.814 to take control before Brookes snatched it back with a mere 0.002s advantage.
Luke Mossey beat them both, however, with a 1’07.464, as joint points leader Tommy Bridewell went second just 0.057s adrift.
After a lull in action almost 20 minutes into the session, Mackenzie went second quickest with a 1’07.509, but he was soon relegated to third as Brookes scorched back to the top with a 1’07.389 before the Scotsman went down at Craner just a couple of laps later.
Smith’s Racing BMW man Hickman jumped up to second just before the half-way point in the session, but was quickly eclipsed by Mossey as Redding slotted into fourth, just 0.176s off the top spot.
But former Donington GP winner Redding powered ahead of his team-mate to take the lead by 0.227s just as red flags were thrown to halt action for bike recovery.
With less than 10 minutes to run after bikes had returned to the track, however, Brookes stamped his authority once again with the first lap in the 1’06 bracket, a 1’06.856, before Hickman and Mackenzie followed him into the 1’06s moments later.
Tyco BMW’s Keith Farmer shot forward to second with a 1’06.892 with less than three minutes to go, but Redding reclaimed the runner-up spot a few seconds later for a PBM one-two.
But the BSB new-boy made a late dash after the chequered flag flew to pinch the top spot from Brookes by a mere 0.023sec.
OMG Suzuki’s top man Mossey ended the session third ahead of Farmer, while Hickman and McAMS Yamaha rider Mackenzie completed the top six.
Spaniard Xavi Fores finished seventh for Honda Racing while Elliott, Christian Iddon and Santander Salt TAG Racing’s Linfoot rounded out the top 10.