Tommy Hill became the first rider to slip beneath 46secs during the third of four practice sessions for the opening round of the MCE British Superbike Championship at Brands Hatch.

Once again, the session was hard fought, with 16 riders once again getting to within the pace setters best time, while Alastair Seeley, Tommy Bridewell and Yukio Kagayama all enjoyed stints at the top of the timesheets in the final 15 minutes.

In the end though, a late effort of 45.926secs from Hill was enough to put him fastest on the Worx Crescent Suzuki, ahead of Bridewell, the Quay Garage Honda rider proving his rapid pace during FP2 was no fluke by going faster in second.

Swan Honda's James Ellison moved up to third position, ahead of Ryuichi Kiyonari and Michael Laverty, the Relentless by TAS Suzuki rider making a big improvement between sessions to move into the top five.

Kagayama and Seeley would eventually slip to sixth and seventh, ahead of Dan Linfoot in eighth, the Supersport graduate moving the Motorpoint Yamaha team into the top ten for the first time this weekend. Josh Brookes was ninth and Gary Mason tenth, the latter clinging on to the leaders despite suffering a fall in the final minute.

Outside the top ten, Michael Rutter and Martin Jessopp were closely matched on the Ridersmotorcycles.com Ducatis in 11th and 12th, while Chris Walker was an impressive 14th on his first run out aboard the CW Suzuki. He was even faster than former sparring partner Neil Hodgson, the former champion in 16th position.

In the Evo category, Steve Brogan continued to lead the way by a substantial margin, the Jentin BMW rider in 13th overall, with nearest rival Pauli Pekkanen 20th on the RR Suzuki.

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