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Haslam leads but Byrne, Iddon and Brookes close in at Oulton Park

Saturday, April 29 2017

Leon Haslam ended the opening day at Oulton Park fastest after the JG Speedfit Kawasaki rider set a pace inside the existing lap record to hold off the closing opposition following the opening two MCE British Superbike Championship free practice sessions in Cheshire.

A hectic final session saw the leading contenders trading blows for the top spot as the time ticked down ahead of tomorrow's Datatag Qualifying session and Bank Holiday Monday's two races. The JG Speedfit Kawasaki pairing had the upper hand initially, but defending champion Shane 'Shakey' Byrne was pushing back.

Haslam's last run of the session saw him drop under the lap record to hold off a fighting Byrne by just 0.237s and Christian Iddon, who leapt to third in the closing stages for Tyco BMW.

Josh Brookes had an improving afternoon as he was the fastest of the Yamahas in fourth place with his last run, pushing Brands Hatch double race winner Luke Mossey back into fifth place. Mossey had a marginal advantage over Moto Rapido Ducati's John Hopkins and Ducati rival Glenn Irwin.

James Ellison was the fastest of the McAMS Yamaha riders in eighth place with Jake Dixon and Jason O'Halloran completing the top ten.

Haslam said: "We've got to be happy as we're quickest, but we're experimenting a lot with the chassis and electronics. We had a good test last quick and were quick straight away. I've done a few race runs on the hard tyre and a few laps on the softer tyre at the end.

"Having done race distance twice I'm feeling confident, a lot of other people didn't get 18 laps in a session let alone two 18 lap race runs today. I've only used the two tyres on those runs, and because we've started strong we don't have to worry about pushing for a lap time and instead can focus on trying new things that will benefit us both here and at the future."

MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship, Oulton Park, Free Practice two:

  1. Leon Haslam (JG Speedfit Kawasaki) 1m:34.093s
  2. Shane Byrne (Be Wiser Ducati) +0.237s
  3. Christian Iddon (Tyco BMW) +0.303s
  4. Josh Brookes (Anvil Hire TAG Yamaha) +0.503s
  5. Luke Mossey (JG Speedfit Kawasaki) +0.642s
  6. John Hopkins (Moto Rapido Ducati) +0.951s
  7. Glenn Irwin (Be Wiser Ducati) +1.065s
  8. James Ellison (McAMS Yamaha) +1.213s
  9. Jake Dixon (RAF Reserves Kawasaki) +1.217s
  10. Jason O'Halloran (Honda Racing) +1.300s