John Hopkins picked up where he left off from Donington Park by claiming the fastest time in British Superbike first free practice at Silverstone.

Not unsurprisingly, Hopkins, who scored a fine pole position at World Superbike level at Silverstone earlier this season, was in charge as the chequered flag dropped at the end of FP1, though he did trail arch-rival Tommy Hill for much of the session.

Nonetheless, Hopkins's 2mins 07.977secs came despite him completing just nine laps, the American keen to preserve his recently operated-on finger.

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That was enough to give him a six tenths advantage over Hill, who in turn commanded a clear advantage over third place man Graeme Gowland, the EVO rider impressing once more on the WFR Honda.

Michael Laverty followed up on the second Swan Yamaha in fourth, ahead of fellow title fighters Shane Byrne and Ryuichi Kiyonari. The sixth and final title challenger, Josh Brookes, was 15th.

Martin Jessopp kept up his good form from Donington Park to claim seventh best, while his Rapid Bathams Ducati team-mate Michael Rutter was also back on track for the first time since breaking his ribs at Cadwell Park. The BSB veteran, a winner at Silverstone in 2010, was 24th fastest.

Back in the top ten, Alex Lowes put in a convincing performance on the Motorpoint Yamaha in eighth, ahead of EVO series leader Glen Richards, Jon Kirkham, Peter Hickman and Gary Mason on the 2012-specification MSS Colchester Kawasaki.