James Ellison proved he isn't planning to give up on his MCE British Superbike Championship title hopes without a fight after taking to the top of the timesheets in opening free practice at Silverstone.

Ellison diced with team-mate and champion elect Leon Camier throughout the session, the latter seemingly stealing the initiative when he posted the first lap time to breach 1min 27secs.

Nonetheless, a fine late effort from Ellison saw him retake the position with a time that was a good half a second quicker than Camier, even if the latter rider was hindered by a yellow flag on his final flying lap.

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Stuart Easton, Airwaves Yamaha's closest competitor this season, kept close tabs on the leading pair in third position, ahead of Motorpoint/Henderson Yamaha rider Chris Walker and Relentless Suzuki's Ian Lowry.

John Laverty flew the flag for Kawasaki in sixth position, ahead of Tommy Hill on the second of the Hydrex Hondas.

Perhaps the most significant result of the session, however, was that of BSB debutant Alastair Seeley, who competes on a Relentless Suzuki configured to the new 'Evo' regulations this weekend ahead of its full implementation in 2010.

Already eighth quickest - 17 positions and almost two seconds quicker than Atsushi Watanabe -, Seeley was also impressively faster than Josh Brookes and Simon Andrews, as well as the leading Cup competitor Gary Mason.

Elsewhere on the bumper 30-strong grid, Michael Rutter enjoyed an encouraging return to action aboard the Bathams Ducati in 14th, while SMT Honda's new recruit Karl Harris was just behind in 15th.