Josh Brookes drew first blood in this morning’s opening Bennetts British Superbike free practice session as multiple red flags delayed play.
At least three red flag stoppages delayed action, but Be Wiser Ducati’s leading rider emerged with FP1 bragging rights after an 11th-hour battle for the top spot with Smiths Racing’s Peter Hickman.
Dan Linfoot stormed out of the gates to lead Brookes and Danny Buchan on his first flying lap and while TT star Hickman shot to the top just under seven minutes into the session, FS3 Kawasaki’s Buchan grabbed the lead a minute later.
But last week’s test day front-runner Brookes snatched top lead back moments later before he and Buchan continued their tit-for-tat as the Essex rider went quickest with a 1’36.077s.
Action was brought to a halt just 15 minutes in, however, as Dean Hipwell’s superbike required retrieval thanks to mechanical woes.
Brookes edged his way past Buchan to reclaim the top spot when action got back underway, but just a minute later bikes were brought back into the pits as red flags were thrown, with the Buildbase Suzuki of Luke Stapleford stopped at Cascades with technical problems and track contamination in his wake.
And just as riders looked to be getting back up to speed, the JG Speedfit Kawasaki of Ben Currie went down at Shell Oils and the Aussie was carted off to the medical centre.
With just over 10 minutes to go, Buchan pipped Brookes by 0.032s and became the first rider to dip into the 1’35s before the third red flag of the session was waved as Fraser Rogers went down just before Druids.
But with action once again back on circuit and just minutes remaining, Brookes reclaimed the top spot while O’Halloran shot forward into third ahead of Bridewell.
Hickman wasn’t done, however, and he charged to the front with a 1’35.674s as the seconds wound down before Brookes once again scooped bragging rights as the chequered flag waved with a 1’35.624.
Buchan sneaked into third spot ahead of O’Halloran on his final lap, while Oxford Ducati’s Bridewell rounded out the top five.
Silverstone podium man Scott Redding went sixth quickest ahead of Glenn Irwin, while OMG Suzuki’s duo of Luke Mossey and Josh Elliott sandwiched ninth-placed Tyco BMW man Christian Iddon to complete the top 10.
Condition update: Rogers has sustained a right-arm fracture while Currie has broken his left leg. Both have been taken to Stoke Hospital.