Smith’s Racing BMW’s Peter Hickman continued to lay down the law in Hampshire as he dominated this afternoon second Bennetts British Superbike free practice to end the day on top.
The roads star controlled almost the entire session to clock the quickest lap of the weekend so far and keep Danny Buchan at bay by almost three tenths of a second.
After leading this morning’s first session, Hickman was straight back to the top in FP2 before Bridewell pipped him by just 0.005s to take over, with Be Wiser Ducati’s Scott Redding just over three tenths off the lead in third.
McAMS Yamaha’s Tarran Mackenzie slotted into third moments later just as Hickman powered past Bridewell, clocking a 1’15.844 to go just 0.012s faster than the local Oxford Ducati rider.
Redding dropped further down the order after James Ellison moved up into fourth, while his PBM team-mate moved just inside the top 10 after moving ahead of Matt Truelove.
But red flags were waved just over 12 minutes into the session as Quattro Plant JG Speedfit’s Hector Barbera went down at Allard and was carted off to the medical centre.
When action got back underway a few minutes later, Santander Salt TAG Yamaha’s Dan Linfoot shot forward to third as he joined leaders Hickman and Bridewell in the 1’15s bracket.
But the Yorkshireman soon came under threat from points leader Redding as the latter slotted into fourth, just two hundredths behind Linfoot, before Mackenzie knocked the former Grand Prix rider back down to fifth.
The other PBM machine of Brookes, meanwhile, had slotted into the top 10 just behind OMG Suzuki’s Luke Mossey with just over 17 minutes to go, but the Aussie dropped the hammer the very next time around and powered into second place behind Hickman.
But Hickman had already laid down another quick one with a 1’15.213, the fastest lap of the day, to lead Brookes by almost six tenths of a second.
With just over 10 minutes left in the session, Jason O’Halloran rocketed up to fourth before FS-3 Kawasaki’s Danny Buchan blasted into second place, only two tenths off Hickman’s top time. O’Halloran hit back moments later to knock Brookes out of the top three and take over third.
Superbike rookie Ben Currie moved up to sixth with four minutes left before Redding knocked him back a place, while Brookes nudged O’Halloran back to fourth to take over third.
New Tyco BMW recruit Glenn Irwin and his Honda Racing brother Andrew moved up into the top six with a couple of minutes to go, but Redding knocked them back to sixth and seventh almost immediately.
As the clock wound down, Hickman went even faster and clocked a 1’15.140 to stamp his authority on the top spot with 0.273s to spare over runner-up Buchan, leaving Brookes and O’Halloran covered - who had just 0.028s between them - to finish third and fourth, respectively.
Redding ended the day fifth as he led home Glenn and Andrew Irwin, with RAF Regular and Reserves Kawasaki’s Ryan Vickers taking eighth just 0.013s further adrift.
Quattro Plant man Currie and Devizes rider Tommy Bridewell rounded out the top 10