Shane Byrne gave HM Plant Honda a fillip ahead of qualifying for the third round of the 2011 MCE British Superbike Championship by snatching the fastest time in third free practice at Croft.

The Briton, along with his team-mate Ryuichi Kiyonari, had struggled during the first day of practice around the Croft circuit, but a marked improvement late in the session allowed Byrne to leapfrog Michael Laverty.

Two tenths faster than the Northern Irishman, Byrne led a trio of Yamaha riders with Laverty in second position, Loris Baz third and James Westmoreland fourth, the young Motorpoint Yamaha riders showing well again this weekend.

Having caused a few ripples with his top three placing in FP1, Peter Hickman continued to shine aboard the Tyco Honda with by re-entering the top five, ahead of Friday pace setter Tommy Hill and leading Kawasaki man Gary Mason.

Alex Lowes continued to mix it with the championship class riders aboard his EVO-spec WFR Honda in eighth, ahead of John Hopkins and Stuart Easton.

Elsewhere, Josh Brookes's quiet weekend continued in 12th, while Kiyonari is yet to crack the top ten, the reigning champion struggling in 14th.