Leon Haslam held off a hard-charging Josh Brookes to top the opening day at Snetterton as the Bennetts British Superbike Championship returned to the track with an incredibly close second free practice session as the top 11 riders were covered by just 0.993s!
The session got underway in warmer conditions than earlier in the day and instantly Glenn Irwin was ready to build on setting the pace in free practice one, but Haslam was on a charge and he moved ahead to put JG Speedfit Kawasaki at the top of the times.
Haslam was under fire though and the championship leader dropped to fifth place in the final ten minutes of the session as Brookes fired himself into the top position for the McAMS Yamaha team, with Jake Dixon and Danny Buchan moving up the order.
The final minutes of the session turned into a rush for the top spot and Irwin came within striking distance, but Haslam fired in another faster lap that put him 0.078s ahead with Brookes holding second ahead of Irwin at the chequered flag.
Dixon and the RAF Regular & Reserves Kawasaki team overcame a small crash at Agostinis to get back out on circuit for the final part of the session, pushing back into the top five at the team’s home round.
Buchan dropped two places in the closing moments to complete the top five, nudging Luke Mossey back into sixth position on the second of the JG Speedfit Kawasakis.
Andrew Irwin delivered an impressive performance on his Superbike debut at Snetterton to hold seventh place on the Be Wiser Ducati, moving ahead of his more experienced rivals James Ellison, Michael Laverty and Tarran Mackenzie who completed the top ten.
Bradley Ray missed out on a top ten position by just 0.184s as he bids to close the 14 point deficit to championship leader Haslam in the two races on Sunday.
Bennetts British Superbike Championship, Snetterton, Free Practice two result:
Leon Haslam (JG Speedfit Kawasaki) 1m:47.674s
Josh Brookes (McAMS Yamaha) +0.078s
Glenn Irwin (Be Wiser Ducati) +0.111s
Jake Dixon (RAF Regular & Reserves Kawasaki) +0.126s
Danny Buchan (FS-3 Racing Kawasaki) +0.320s
Luke Mossey (JG Speedfit Kawasaki) +0.618s
Andrew Irwin (Be Wiser Ducati) +0.700s
James Ellison (Anvil Hire TAG Yamaha) +0.727s
Michael Laverty (Tyco BMW) +0.778s
Tarran Mackenzie (McAMS Yamaha) +0.809s
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