Hydrex Honda lead the way in FP1

Hydrex Honda got the ball rolling for the 2009 British Superbike Championship as Karl Harris and Stuart Easton locked out the top two positions in the first free practice session of the weekend at Brands Hatch.

The first of six free practice sessions that will precede the action this Easter weekend, Honda were prominent throughout the 90-minute exchange, with Hydrex and HM Plant setting the pace.

Ultimately, though, Harris and Easton were the dominant force, with both riders swapping the top spot regularly before ex-Yamaha rider Harris got the edge on Macau winner Easton with a best lap of 46.658secs – just four hundredths up on his team-mate.

After setting the very early pace, Glen Richards leapt up from outside the top ten in the latter stages to claim the third quickest time, ahead of BSB debutant Sylvain Guintoli on the Worx Crescent Suzuki.

Behind them, Steve Plater was making a fine impression on the second HM Plant Honda as the replacement for Joshua Brookes this weekend, the team's Supersport rider even going quickest with 20 minutes remaining before dropping back to fifth.

Also causing a surprise in sixth was Gary Mason, who was by far the best of the Cup competitors on the Quay Garage Honda, ten positions and four tenths up on second place Tom Tunstall.

Yamahas rounded out the top ten positions, with Leon Camier enjoying a decent first outing on the Airwaves Yamaha, just four tenths off the pace and classified as the leading R1 rider. However, team-mate James Ellison didn't fare so well, completing just a single lap on his machine to be left at the bottom of the timesheets.

Just behind, Jon Kirkham was eighth quickest on the Jentin machine, while Motorpoint/Henderson pair Chris Walker and Graeme Gowland completed the top ten.

Elsewhere, Tristan Palmer was the best of the Kawasaki contingent in 11th, ahead of Ian Lowry on the Relentless Suzuki. His team-mate Atsushi Watanabe was only 20th best after missing some of the session with mechanical problems.

Two more free practice sessions will take place today, at 14.00 and 15.50.

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