Superbikes - Thruxton BSB: Byrne edges Bridewell to lead opening practice

Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki’s Shane Byrne was uncatchable during the opening MCE British Superbike free practice session at Thruxton, after a 1’16.020 put him firmly at the top of the timesheets.

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Superbikes - Thruxton BSB: Byrne edges Bridewell to lead opening practice
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Thruxton BSB: Byrne edges Bridewell to lead opening practice

Milwaukee Yamaha’s Tommy Bridewell alongside his garage buddy Josh Brookes were trying desperately hard to match the pace of the Lambeth born rider, but in the end it was local lad, Bridewell who managed to get the closest to Byrne’s best lap, and ended the morning on a 1’16.711, with Brookes lapping a 1’16.923, to complete the top three.

Initially it was Quattro Plant Kawasaki’s Dan Linfoot who set the pace with a 1’17.253, only for Byrne to go over a second quicker with 30 minutes of track time remaining. Buildbase BMW's Ryuichi Kiyonari began to creep up the sheets, and was consistently lapping in the 1’17’s, and went third quickest - one-tenth off the time clocked by Linfoot.

On the 28 minute mark RAF Reserves Honda Peter Hickman pushed his bike up to third on the timing-screens with a 1’17.175 rotation, knocking his former GBmoto team-mate, Linfoot down to fourth.

But elsewhere Kiyo was edging ever closer to Byrne, and with 25 minutes remaining was 0.9 seconds off the pace of Byrne – who on his 12th lap did a 1’16.020. But from out of no where Anvil Hire Tag Racing’s Richard Cooper lapped a 1’16.978 to knock Kiyo back down to third and take the second spot on the sheets with just over 15 minutes left to the opening practice outing.

The Milwaukee Yamaha duo of Bridewell and Brookes were firmly inside the top ten times, but at exactly the same time popped up inside the top three with the Devizes rider having the slight edge – two tenths of a second to be exact over the Bringelly lad to go second and third fastest respectively after 35 minutes.

But soon the dark clouds began to descend over the Hampshire circuit and spots of rain started to fall at turns 9, 10, 11 and 12, and most of the riders quickly retreated to the pits. The black and orange flags were soon out, and this time they were for Quattro Plant Kawasaki’s Howie Mainwaring as he had a loose fairing and was soon summoned back into the garage.

As the chequered flag appeared Byrne held on to the top spot on the time-sheets, followed by the Milwaukee pairing of Bridewell and Brookes, with Hickman and Cooper completing the top five. Kiyonari was bumped down to sixth, with Linfoot, Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki’s Stuart Easton, Millsport Ducati’s Jakub Smrz and Bathams BMW’s Michael Rutter rounding up the top ten.

Practice times

1 67 Shane BYRNE GBR Kawasaki - Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki 1:16.020 4 17 111.57 2 46 Tommy BRIDEWELL GBR Yamaha - Milwaukee Yamaha 1:16.711 15 19 0.691 0.691 110.56 3 3 Josh BROOKES AUS Yamaha - Milwaukee Yamaha 1:16.923 15 20 0.903 0.212 110.26 4 60 Peter HICKMAN GBR Honda - RAF Reserves Honda 1:16.967 21 21 0.947 0.044 110.19 5 47 Richard COOPER GBR Kawasaki - Anvil Hire TAG Racing 1:16.978 13 23 0.958 0.011 110.18 6 23 Ryuichi KIYONARI JPN BMW - Buildbase BMW Motorrad 1:17.018 10 24 0.998 0.040 110.12 7 4 Dan LINFOOT GBR Kawasaki - Quattro Plant Kawasaki 1:17.253 6 23 1.233 0.235 109.79 8 5 Stuart EASTON GBR Kawasaki - Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki 1:17.379 18 19 1.359 0.126 109.61 9 96 Jakub SMRZ CZE Ducati - Millsport Ducati 1:17.557 10 15 1.537 0.178 109.35 10 11 Michael RUTTER GBR BMW - Bathams Prize Winning Ales 1:17.675 7 23 1.655 0.118 109.19

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