Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki's Shane 'Shakey' Byrne upped the ante in the second free practice session at the opening round of the MCE British Superbike Championship this afternoon as he became the first rider to dip into the 45s bracket.
Byrne lapped the Brands Hatch Indy circuit on his ZX-10R in a time of 45.954s to end the opening day of the Easter weekend season-opener at the top of the pile.
"It's great to be back with Birdy and the boys," said Shakey. "We have made good progress, made a few changes between session and the balance of the bike is better so now it's time to get down to the proper action. I won my first ever race at Brands Hatch and it holds a lot of good memories for me so I intend to start where I left off last year and that's by winning.”
Tyco TAS Suzuki's Josh Brookes moved into second position on the timesheets late in the session with a time of 46.118s, which put him ahead of Samsung Honda's Michael Laverty.
This morning's pacesetter, Graeme Gowland on the WFR Honda, was missing from the afternoon session. Gowland crashed late on in FP1 after setting the fastest lap (46.162s) and although he escaped unhurt, there is a possibility that machine damage ruled him out of FP2.
Reigning BSB champion Tommy Hill moved ominously up the leaderboard after languishing in 13th place this morning to take fourth spot.
Hill explained: "We had a number of issues during the morning session but the team worked hard for me to get rid of the gremlins and now we are back where we should be and there is more to come."
Just behind was the impressive Stuart Easton on the second Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki ZX-10R, who is showing no ill effects following his battle back to fitness after a serious accident at the North West 200 in May 2011 curtailed his season.
Behind Easton, Ulsterman Ian Lowry was next in sixth place on Clive Padgett's Honda Fireblade as he bids to get his career back on track after failing to fulfil the potential he displayed in 2009, when he ended the year as BSB's top rookie.