James Westmoreland emerged as the surprise pace setter ahead of British Superbike qualifying at Thruxton after setting the fastest lap time of the weekend in third free practice.

A strong session for some of the lesser fancied names in BSB, it was Tyco Honda's Peter Hickman that looked on course to come away fastest as he held down the top spot for the majority of the session.

However, with five minutes to go, a flurry of late laps would see British Supersport graduate Westmoreland leap to the top of the timesheets, just ahead of FP1 and FP2 pace setter Shane Byrne.

Backing up his Motorpoint Yamaha team-mate, Loris Baz continued his progress around the high-speed circuit, the Thruxton newcomer having gone from 23rd, to 12th to third over the course of just three sessions.

His impressive feat was matched - if not surpassed - by Alex Lowes in fourth position, the new MSS Colchester Kawasaki rider following a similar trajectory up the timesheets as he successfully gets to grips with the ZX-10R.

Martin Jessopp, who started race two at Thruxton from pole position last season, was fifth best on the Rapid Bathams Ducati, once again ahead of his more experienced team-mate Michael Rutter in eighth, the pair split by Tommy Hill and Hickman, who would slip to an eventual seventh.

John Hopkins and Dan Linfoot rounded out the top ten, with reigning champion Ryuichi Kiyonari in 11th position and Michael Laverty in 12th.

In the EVO class, Simon Andrews was quickest aboard the PR Kawasaki in 17th, ahead of Glen Richards in 18th and Graeme Gowland in 21st.

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