Oulton BSB: Ray breaks lap record to top FP2

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Picture: Impact Images

Rich Energy OMG Yamaha’s Brad Ray proved he was still the man to beat in BSB with a new circuit record in FP2 at Oulton Park.

The Bennetts British Superbike Championship leader set a 1’33.700 in the closing stages of the afternoon session with Oxford Products Ducati’s Tommy Bridewell and Honda’s Glenn Irwin the closest challengers in the top three.

A determined Bridewell was first out on track and up to the top of the times as afternoon practice got underway at Oulton Park. Fellow Ducati rider Josh Brookes also bettering his earlier effort in the opening laps of FP2 as he made moves on the top ten before Ray briefly took charge.

Bridewell was back in charge with a 1’33.991, however, after ten minutes of action. The Oxford Products rider skimming the edges of the lap record as McAMS Yamaha’s Jason O’Halloran swept up to fourth.

Kyle Ryde sat fifth on the OMG R1 at the halfway stage with Synetiq BMW’s Danny Buchan and Irwin heading the VisionTrack and FS3 Kawasaki’s of Leon Haslam, Rory Skinner and Lee Jackson in the top ten.

The second half saw Buchan advanced to third as just a tenth covered the closely matched leading trio. Reigning champion Tarran Mackenzie just 0.07s adrift of the top ten, with Buildbase Suzuki’s Christian Iddon holding the final Superpicks promotion place as the final quarter counted down.

Brookes improved to seventh with seven minutes on the clock. His MCE Ducati teammate Tom Sykes up to eleventh next time around as Mackenzie dipped out of contention while Ryan Vickers suffered a technical issue on the FHO BMW with five to go.

Peter Hickman improved on his session-topping FP1 time in the closing stages as he consolidated fourth before O’Halloran dropped him to fifth. Iddon and Sykes finding late pace for sixth and seventh as Ray broke the lap record with a 1’33.8 in quick succession. The title-challenger ensuring control as he bettered his own personal best with a 1’33.700 as the session wound down.

Haslam was the next big mover as he claimed sixth, seven-tenths from the outright best. Skinner and Ryde on the edge of the top ten - despite the Scotsman’s late fall at turn one - before Irwin arrived to third on the bubble of 1’34 and Brookes dropped to the danger zone for the final minute.

A late move saw Ryde back up to seventh as the chequered flag came out, Mackenzie moving the Yamaha up to eighth in the dying seconds as Brookes crashed out of promotion. Skinner safe in 12th as the session concluded.

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