Byrne tops day one at Knockhill
Free practice one:
- Ryuichi Kiyonari (Buildbase BMW) 48.417s
- Shane Byrne (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki) +0.005s
- Stuart Easton (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki) +0.504s
- Tommy Bridewell (Milwaukee Yamaha) +0.610s
- John Hopkins (Tyco Suzuki) +0.611s
- Josh Brookes (Milwaukee Yamaha) +0.632s
Free practice two:
- Shane Byrne (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki) 48.243s
- Ryuichi Kiyonari (Buildbase BMW) +0.254s
- Josh Brookes (Milwaukee Yamaha) +0.293s
- Stuart Easton (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki) +0.409s
- Tommy Bridewell (Milwaukee Yamaha) +0.468s
- John Hopkins (Tyco Suzuki) +0.562s
Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne won the battle of the triple MCE Insurance British Superbike champions in the opening free practice sessions at Knockhill, heading off the challenge from Ryuichi Kiyonari at the demanding Scottish circuit.
Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki’s Byrne blasted to a best lap of 48.243s, but determined to hold off his international opponents in the title chase this weekend, the Kent ace was still not satisfied with the opening day.
Byrne said: “We are happy to be fastest but we have been in a situation where normally I love riding the Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki, but today I only liked riding it. There are some areas we are working hard on as a team so we are ready for qualifying tomorrow because I didn’t feel that I could push hard enough. We have some big plans!”
Byrne’s fastest lap put him ahead of Japan’s Kiyonari who had set the pace in the opening session aboard his Buildbase BMW from Byrne by just 0.005s. The Japanese rider has good memories of his previous appearance at the circuit, taking a pair of third places last season, and now he is aiming for a first winning ride since Snetterton in 2011.
However they face tough opposition from Australian Josh Brookes, the only rider to have beaten Byrne so far this campaign. He ran his Milwaukee Yamaha third fastest and is ready to retaliate after a crash at the last race at Snetterton shattered his hopes of a second victory.
Brookes said: “We didn’t get a good start in the first session because I didn’t feel confident in some of the corners. I don’t like making changes in the first sessions generally because sometimes that sends you round in circles but today it forced me to do that. I knew straight away that the bike was too soft and that we needed to make the changes and it did improve the feeling for the last run we had this afternoon. I still feel that I wasn’t riding with full confidence in the second session and that we need to find that little bit we are missing ready for qualifying tomorrow. In general it has been good though because we know what we need to look at so that we can really push in the races on Sunday.”
Bullish Brookes’ best lap pushed out Stuart Easton to fourth as the Scottish rider prepares for his home round.
Milwaukee Yamaha’s Tommy Bridewell was also pushing for the top in fifth, narrowly ahead of American John Hopkins aboard his Tyco Suzuki. Michael Rutter ran seventh on the Bathams BMW while Chris Walker bounced back from a crash in the morning to set the eighth best time two places up on his Lloyds British GBmoto Kawasaki team-mate James Ellison. James Westmoreland was sandwiched between them on the second Buildbase BMW with the top twelve covered by only 0.995s.
Graeme Gowland continued to threaten his Motorpoint British Supersport Championship-leading Smiths Triumph team-mate Billy McConnell that he intends to continue his winning ways by topping the second free practice session at Knockhill.
Gowland set the pace in the opening session and then this afternoon improved his time, putting in a best lap of 49.450s to out-gun McConnell, who leads him by 26 points in the title stakes with Luke Stapleford aboard the Profile Triumph third fastest.
Luke Mossey was fourth fastest, ahead of Sam Hornsey and former champion Alastair Seeley whose late charge moved his Mar-Train Yamaha three places up the timesheets into sixth place.
Glenn Irwin, who currently holds third in the points standings, had to settle for seventh best aboard the Gearlink Kawasaki, edging out Luke Jones and Jake Dixon with Dean Hipwell completing the top ten.
Alex Olsen, the leader in the Supersport Evo category, aboard the Power Projects T3 Triumph was twelfth fastest overall to be fastest in the class ahead of Danny Webb and Tim Hastings.
Motorpoint British Supersport Championship, Knockhill, free practice two:
- Graeme Gowland (Smiths Triumph) 49.450s
- Billy McConnell (Smiths Triumph) +0.282s
- Luke Stapleford (Profile Triumph) +0.344s
- Luke Mossey (Techcare/Profile Triumph) +0.517s
- Sam Hornsey (Anvil Hire TAG Triumph) +0.643s