Jason O’Halloran topped the opening Bennetts British Superbike Championship free practice session at Oulton Park this morning, setting the pace by just 0.008s ahead of Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne to put Honda Racing at the top of the timesheets in the final minutes.
The session got underway in perfect conditions in Cheshire and following last week’s official test the Be Wiser Ducatis soon pushed their way to the top of the times, with Byrne narrowly ahead of Glenn Irwin.
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Irwin though had a small tip off at Lodge with 20 minutes remaining of the session, but there was only artificial damage to the Be Wiser Ducati and he was soon back out on circuit for the closing stages of free practice one.
Byrne had been hunted down by a charging Leon Haslam, but the JG Speedfit Kawasaki rider dropped to fourth in the closing minute when a flurry of fast laps were posted with O’Halloran moving to the top of the times ahead of Byrne and Richard Cooper on the leading Buildbase Suzuki.
Peter Hickman completed the top five on the Smiths Racing BMW with Josh Brookes leaping up to sixth place for McAMS Yamaha in the final five minutes ahead of Irwin.
Tommy Bridewell was eighth fastest for Movuno.com Halsall Racing Suzuki with Christian Iddon and Jake Dixon completing the top ten.
Triple champion Ryuichi Kiyonari had his first taste of the 2018 Honda Racing Fireblade this morning, improving his pace, finishing the session 2.802s adrift of the fastest time of O’Halloran.
Bennetts British Superbike Championship, Oulton Park, Free Practice one:
Jason O’Halloran (Honda Racing) 1m:35.030s
Shane Byrne (Be Wiser Ducati) +0.008s
Richard Cooper (Buildbase Suzuki) +0.125s
Leon Haslam (JG Speedfit Kawasaki) +0.234s
Peter Hickman (Smiths Racing BMW) +0.239s
Josh Brookes (McAMS Yamaha) +0.309s
Glenn Irwin (Be Wiser Ducati) +0.311s
Tommy Bridewell (Movuno.com Halsall Racing Suzuki) +0.367s
Christian Iddon (Tyco BMW) +0.543s
Jake Dixon (RAF Regular & Reserves Kawasaki) +0.626s