Tommy Hill marked his return to the British Superbike Championship in style by claiming the fastest time in opening free practice for round seven at Mallory Park.

Hill makes his debut for the Suzuki Worx Crescent team this weekend having been called upon to the replace Michael Rutter, the former BSB race winner going on to impress by taking charge throughout the 50-minute session.

Capitalising on having completed a few laps of the Leicestershire circuit last week when he was announced as Suzuki's new rider, Hill's margin stood at more than half a second for much of the time before Leon Camier managed to reduce it to three tenths in the latter stages.

The championship leader found himself in the lower reaches of the top ten for the majority of the session before working his way back up to second, just ahead of third place Karl Harris on the Hydrex Honda.

Beyond Hill, there was also a very notable performance from Steve Brogan, who marked his debut on the HM Plant Honda Superbike by claiming a superb fourth fastest lap, six positions and four tenths faster than more experienced team-mate Josh Brookes.

In fifth position, Simon Andrews was forced to leave it late to make his move having only been able to complete five laps, the Kawasaki rider finishing ahead of Chris Walker, James Ellison, John Laverty and Brookes.

Elsewhere, the Cup class had a surprising front runner in the form of Superstock rider Richard Cooper, who is entering the Superbike class this weekend on the Co-ordit Yamaha. Holding down a top ten position for much of the session, he would eventually end up 11th, three tenths up on second place Gary Mason.

Further back, Michael Rutter had an inauspicious debut for SMT Honda down in 25th, almost four seconds off the pace.