Swan Yamaha's Tommy Hill showed why he is the reigning MCE British Superbike champion today as he powered to the top of the timesheets on his YZF-R1 at Brands Hatch.
Hill concluded the second day of practice in pole position as he readies himself for the all-important qualifying shootout tomorrow.
His best lap of 45.979s, his fastest of the weekend so far, gave him the edge over Samsung Honda's Michael Laverty, who has been consistently fast on the CBR1000RR Fireblade, with Graeme Gowland third on the WFR Honda.
Hill, who clocked his best time despite falling temperatures and the threat of rain on the Indy circuit, said: “So far, so good for the Swan Yamaha team here at Brands Hatch. It is still early days as it is only practice, but it is obviously good to top both of the sessions.
“In the afternoon stint I did my fastest lap as it began to drizzle a little and the team called me back into the garage, but to do that in those changing conditions is definitely encouraging.
“Tomorrow for qualifying and the races on Monday could be a different story if the weather changes but we are happy and feeling ready for it,” added Hill, who led the way in both final free practice sessions.
His high-profile team-mate, Noriyuki Haga, ended the day in 17th position but set his fastest lap of the weekend, 0.711s adrift of Hill.
Haga, though, is confident he has more to come during qualifying on Sunday.
“Today we decided on the engine to use after testing them yesterday and I was feeling comfortable and now we just need to make a few more changes to help with the balance before qualifying,” he said.
“The lap times are so close between everybody that just to push a little bit more will move me up the order so I am not worried. It is important to get a good feeling with the Swan Yamaha which we have been doing today and we have some more ideas for tomorrow ready for qualifying.”
The top 20 riders were separated by just 0.892 as Monday's opening round of the 2012 championship looks like being a thriller.