James Ellison topped the opening MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship free practice sessions at Brands Hatch today in spectacular style. The McAMS Yamaha rider smashed the existing fastest lap time of the 1.2-mile circuit in Kent in the opening session with a time of 45.097s to set the pace.
Ellison was pushed all the way throughout the two sessions though, with both free practices seeing the top 18 covered by 0.9s. In the opening session Luke Mossey was able to get the better of defending champion Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne on the timesheets, but when it came to the afternoon the positions were reversed.
Leon Haslam improved in the afternoon session as he moved to fourth fastest on the second JG Speedfit Kawasaki, just ahead of Christian Iddon on the sole Tyco BMW. His team-mate Davide Giugliano had suffered a crash in the opening session and sat out of the second free practice; he will be reviewed by the medical team ahead of the third session tomorrow morning.
Bradley Ray had an impressive start to his free practice sessions, the young rookie the top placed Suzuki rider in sixth this afternoon despite a crash with Dan Linfoot and Josh Brookes splitting him from Sylvain Guintoli on the Bennetts Suzuki.
John Hopkins on the Moto Rapido Ducati completed the top ten this afternoon ahead of tomorrow’s final free practice session and Datatag Qualifying.
MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship, Brands Hatch, Free Practice one:
MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship, Brands Hatch, Free Practice two:
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P1, Free Practice 1 and 2
“It really helped us having the extra session here yesterday afternoon, but the times are coming down and it is because everyone is pushing harder. We all want it more each year and there was a second covering the top 18 riders so everyone has to try harder to make the difference.
“The Yamaha loves corner speed and that suits my style, which is something that is a big positive for the Indy circuit. It feels like I can brake where I want to and tip in where I want to, we just need to work on the time we are losing at Druids to some of the other guys.
“We obviously want to win. I feel that the McAMS Yamaha can win races because we have found a lot since Donington Park and we have consistency. We have a new swingarm for this weekend and the whole team have been working flat out, so thank you to them for that – it has given myself and Michael [Laverty] a package to come out fighting with on Monday.
“We are not getting ahead of ourselves, but we are feeling confident going into qualifying and the races.”