Be Wiser Ducati’s Josh Brookes grazed his own Oulton Park lap record in the opening Bennetts British Superbike free practice this morning in which intermittent rain hampered progress.
Brookes, who won both races here earlier in the year, set a 1’34.690 with 15 minutes left to run which was enough to open a half-second gap over second-placed man Danny Buchan on the FS-3 Kawasaki.
Peter Hickman, who is challenging for a Showdown spot this weekend, was a little over a tenth behind Buchan while fellow BMW pilot Christian Iddon denied Tommy Bridewell a top-five spot late on, setting a 1’35.566.
Bridewell finished 1.138s off the pace on his Oxford-backed Panigale V4R with championship challenger Scott Redding one place further back but almost 1.3s slower than team-mate Brookes.
Buildbase Suzuki’s Bradley Ray continued his improving form to end in seventh with Glenn Irwin, on the second Tyco S1000RR, eighth and 1.7s off the pace.
Brother Andrew, who is also a Showdown challenger, is one slot further back with Santander Yamaha’s Dan Linfoot completing the top ten with a 1’36.879.
Luke Mossey, returning after an horrendous crash in the Cadwell Park test, ended in 11th with Jason O’Halloran the first of the factory-backed Yamahas in 12th. Luke Stapleford took 13th with James Ellison bringing the MV Agusta up to 14th.
Showdown challenger Xavi Fores completed the top 15 but is some 2.865s off the pace with Tarran Mackenzie right behind him. Smiths BMW debutant Alex Olsen is in 17th with David Allingham, Hector Barbera and Ryan Vickers rounding out the top 20.
Josh Owens, who is also making his BSB debut with the CDH team, finished in 26th.