Hill sets pace at Brands
Free practice session one:
1: Tommy Hill (Swan Yamaha) 46.297s
2: Stuart Easton (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki) +0.320s
3: Noriyuki Haga (Swan Yamaha) +0.416s
4: Alex Lowes (Team WFR Honda) +0.435s
5: Barry Burrell (Buildbase BMW) +0.459s
6: Alastair Seeley (Tyco Suzuki) +0.546s
Free practice session two:
1: Tommy Hill (Swan Yamaha) 45.979s
2: Michael Laverty (Samsung Honda) +0.044s
3: Graeme Gowland (WFR Honda) +0.140s
4: Ian Lowry (Padgetts Honda) +0.224s
5: Alex Lowes (WFR Honda) +0.256s
6: Shane Byrne (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki) +0.271s
Tommy Hill warned the pretenders to his MCE Insurance British Superbike crown that he means business in the Easter Monday opening round after he topped the free practice leaderboard at Brands Hatch.
The Swan Yamaha rider was fastest in both sessions around the 1.2-mile Indy circuit with his best lap coming in the afternoon in a time of 45.979secs, but Hill, who clinched the crown in a dramatic last round at the circuit in 2011, is expecting to make further improvements to his bike ahead of Sunday afternoon’s grid deciding session.
“We are making good progress – the team worked overtime on Friday to solve some fuelling issues and now we’ve worked on the chassis, trying to improve the bike further and also my riding style. The cold weather is making the tyres have to work harder but I am pretty happy with my time as it came when there was some drizzle in the air – I’m feeling good, but not over confident. There is a long way to go, but I will be pushing hard,” said Hill.
Michael Laverty pushed him hard, closing his Samsung Honda to within 0.044secs as Honda Fireblades packed into the top five. Graeme Gowland, riding in WFR colours was unscathed from his heavy crash at the circuit during Friday testing and recorded the third best time.
Ian Lowry aboard the Padgetts Honda was barely a tenth of a second further down and just ahead of Alex Lowes riding the second WFR machine. Shane Byrne, the former two times winner of the crown, was sixth fastest on the Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki.
Barry Burrell escaped with just bruising after high-siding off his Buildbase BMW midway through the afternoon session but still ended seventh fastest overall with a best time of 46.280secs to be marginally faster than former four times series runner-up Chris Walker on the Pr1mo Bournemouth Kawasaki.
Dan Linfoot on the second Buildbase BMW was ninth fastest, 46.417secs, ahead of Stuart Easton on the Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki in a second session that saw the top 20 runners set times within a second of pace-setter Hill.