James Ellison reprised his unassailable form from Friday afternoon to again lead the way in the third and final free practice session ahead of the 'Roll for Pole' qualifying shoot-out at Thruxton – but a high-speed fall with just over 20 minutes left to run has left the Swan Honda star and title favourite with a broken femur and consequently out of action.
Ellison was lowering his own benchmark by the lap until a high-side at Goodwood – one of the quickest sections of the fearsomely-fast Hampshire circuit – with 22 minutes remaining saw the Lancastrian land heavily and brought out the red flags. Once the session had re-started, team-mate Stuart Easton popped up into second to demote early pace-setter Josh Brookes aboard the first of the HM Plant Hondas to third.
MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship returnee Yukio Kagayama made some late improvements to edge ahead of the sister Worx Crescent Suzuki of championship leader Tommy Hill for fourth in the closing moments, though the latter was another to come a cropper, going down at Noble just before Ellison, and thereafter remaining sidelined as his team worked on repairing his bike in time for qualifying.
“It's a shame that we crashed out really as we had been having a good session until then,” the Brands Hatch winner told the official BSB website, understandably shaken but thankfully otherwise unharmed. “I just went into the left-hander a bit faster maybe than I had done the lap before, but on the same line and the rear just skipped a bump and I went over the bars.
“I am okay; I have taken a bit of a bruising, but that's to be expected here as it is just so fast. I will be back out this afternoon. The boys are just getting the bike fixed and then we will be back out there.”
The accident relegated Hill from third to fifth on the timesheets, just ahead of Relentless Suzuki rookie Alastair Seeley and former double champion Ryuichi Kiyonari. Martin Jessopp slipped back to eighth after showing well early on. In 16th, MIST Suzuki ace David Anthony was comfortably the highest-placed of the Evo class riders, with the Australian winding up five spots and three tenths of a second clear of Hudson Kennaugh next up for MAR Kawasaki.
To see the third free practice times in full, click here