Peter Hickman fired his way to the top of the times in the opening Bennetts British Superbike Championship free practice sessions at Thruxton today for the Smiths Racing BMW team, edging ahead of his Be Wiser Ducati rival Glenn Irwin.
Hickman saved his best until last in the opening session of the weekend; setting the pace with his final flying lap of the session to regain the position at the top from Bradley Ray by 0.316s.
In the blistering heat at the Hampshire circuit Hickman had been heading the times for the majority of free practice one, before Ray closed in by leaping up from just outside the top ten to move fastest before Hickman responded.
Josh Brookes, one of last year’s race winners, was third fastest for the McAMS Yamaha team; he had a consistent session to remain inside the top five throughout the 45 minute opening session.
Jason O’Halloran showed his ankle injury is improving by moving into fourth place for Honda Racing in the closing ten minutes of the session to push Luke Mossey back into fifth place after he had a small crash when he slid out at the Chicane.
Danny Buchan had another positive session in sixth place as he edged ahead of Tarran Mackenzie on the second of the McAMS Yamahas and Michael Laverty on the leading Tyco BMW.
Jake Dixon had been running third in the early stages of the session but he later dropped to ninth place with Richard Cooper completing the top ten, pushing championship leader Leon Haslam into eleventh place.
In the second session Hickman maintained his position at the top by setting the pace from Glenn Irwin with just 0.187s separating the pair at the top of the times with Dixon holding onto third place.
Haslam had a stronger session in the afternoon as the JG Speedfit Kawasaki rider posted the fourth fastest time.
Tommy Bridewell completed the top five as he continued his momentum with the Moto Rapido Ducati team at their home round, pushing Richard Cooper back into sixth place just ahead of the leading Honda Racing rider O’Halloran.
Christian Iddon lead the Tyco BMW charge in eighth place ahead of Andrew Irwin, who had been running second earlier in the session on the second of the Be Wiser Ducatis with Brookes completing the top ten.
Bennetts British Superbike Championship, Thruxton, Free Practice one:
- Peter Hickman (Smiths Racing BMW) 1m:15.385s
- Bradley Ray (Buildbase Suzuki) +0.316s
- Josh Brookes (McAMS Yamaha) +0.591s
- Jason O’Halloran (Honda Racing) +0.798s
- Luke Mossey (JG Speedfit Kawasaki) +0.849s
- Danny Buchan (FS-3 Racing Kawasaki) +0.884s
- Tarran Mackenzie (McAMS Yamaha) +0.934s
- Michael Laverty (Tyco BMW) +1.003s
- Jake Dixon (RAF Regular & Reserves Kawasaki) +1.135s
- Richard Cooper (Buildbase Suzuki) +1.220s
Bennetts British Superbike Championship, Thruxton, Free Practice 2:
- Peter Hickman (Smiths Racing BMW) 1m:15.461s
- Glenn Irwin (Be Wiser Ducati) +0.187s
- Jake Dixon (RAF Regular & Reserves Kawasaki) +0.240s
- Leon Haslam (JG Speedfit Kawasaki) +0.301s
- Tommy Bridewell (Moto Rapido Ducati) +0.358s
- Richard Cooper (Buildbase Suzuki) +0.463s
- Jason O’Halloran (Honda Racing) +0.470s
- Christian Iddon (Tyco BMW) +0.490s
- Andrew Irwin (Be Wiser Ducati) +0.527s
- Josh Brookes (McAMS Yamaha) +0.551s
The seventh round of the 2018 Bennetts British Superbike Championship take place at Thruxton on August 3./4/5. For more information visit www.britishsuperbike.com
(Smiths Racing BMW)
“I’m always strong at Thruxton, I have been throughout my entire career. I guess because it’s ballsy and you’ve got to be really committed and that’s something I am. We set the bike up as we raced it last year when I finished first and second, and it’s worked straight away here.
“I am feeling confident and we know what works so we are happy and ready for qualifying.”