Hill ‘shoulders’ the pain in Croft practice

"I have to keep my feet on the ground and remember that I am injured" - Tommy Hill.
Tommy Hill defied the pain of a shoulder injury to power his Swan Yamaha to the top of the free practice leaderboard ahead of the third round of the MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship at Croft.

Hill who is eager to put his title bid back on track was passed fit to ride at the North Yorkshire circuit after sustaining ligament injuries in his left shoulder in a heavy tumble during the raceday warm-up at Oulton Park.

Riding in short bursts of eight or nine laps Hill was on the pace throughout the two sessions as he worked with the team to make riding more comfortable.

Then in the final moments of the afternoon session Hill upstaged Rapid Solicitors Bathams Ducati rider Michael Rutter with a lap in 1m 20.763secs, an average speed of 94.72mph, just 0.043secs faster.

Hill said: “I'm well happy with that, but I have to keep my feet on the ground and remember that I am injured. I was running at 85-90% for much of the time but on that last lap just pushed a little bit more. I have to be realistic over the weekend.”

He is eager to take as many points as possible but mindful not to aggravate the injury which he hopes will be well on the way to being healed by the fourth round at Thruxton at the end of the month.

Rutter found himself sandwiched between Hill and his Swan Yamaha team-mate Michael Laverty, a race winner in the corresponding round of last year.

The Ulsterman had set the pace in the morning session and though he improved his lap times by a little over half a second, Laverty had to settle for third fastest. He was a tenth of a second faster than MSS Colchester Kawasaki rider Stuart Easton who is aiming for a repeat of his winning ride of two years ago at the circuit.

French teenager Loris Baz who was fifth fastest on the Motorpoint Yamaha was within a quarter of a second of Hill in tightly fought sessions with the top 10 separated by less than a second. John Hopkins, still buoyant from his maiden race winning ride in BSB, quickly learned the circuit to run his Samsung Crescent Suzuki sixth fastest ahead of local rider James Westmoreland aboard the second Motorpoint Yamaha.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Tommy Hill - Swan Yamaha [pic credit: Ian Hopgood]
Jason O`Halloran, Honda Racing [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Josh Brookes, Anvil Hire Yamaha, [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Shane Byrne, Be Wiser Ducati, [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Luke Mossey, JG Speedfit Kawasaki, [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Peter Hickman, Smiths BMW [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Tommy Bridewell, Team WD-40 Kawasaki [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Bradley Ray, Buildbase Suzuki [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Sylvain Guintoli, Bennetts Suzuki [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
James Ellison, McAMS Yamaha [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Dan Linfoot, Honda Racing [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Alastair Seeley, Tyco BMW [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Lee Jackson, Smiths Racing BMW [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Haslam, Byrne, Mossey, [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Shane Byrne, Be Wiser Ducati, [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Leon Haslam, JG Speedfit Kawasaki [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Leon Haslam, JG Speedfit Kawasaki [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Leon Haslam, JG Speedfit Kawasaki [Credit: Ian Hopgood]

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May 13, 2011 8:18 PM

Tommy is chuffed but said tomorrow is another day so he's keeping it in perspective. Frankly i am amazed he managed this and yes i know it is only practice but if he can get a good grid slot he can be further up the field. Not predicting a win but a couple of half decent points, maybe top 5 or 6 will be an awesome achievement given what is going on with his shoulder. He was heavily strapped up and who knows how he will hold up over race distance but even the haters must agree that he is doing things proper and nobody can doubt his heart. Go #33!

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