Hill on top in first Oulton practice

Tommy Hill puts a clear seven tenths between himself and Josh Brookes during first free practice at Oulton Park.
CLICK HERE to view the full FP1 times.

Tommy Hill has opened up the third round of the 2012 MCE British Superbike Championship at Oulton Park with a commanding showing during FP1, the reigning champion going seven tenths clear of the competition.

Keen to make amends after missing out on victory last time out at Thruxton, Hill was impressively fast throughout the session as he continuously lowered his benchmark, the Swan Yamaha rider eventually settling at 1min 36.385secs.

One of just two riders to even crack 1min 37secs, Hill was a healthy seven tenths up on nearest rival Josh Brookes on the Tyco Suzuki, while Shane Byrne in third place was the only other man to get within a second of the runaway pace setter.

Alex Lowes led the three-pronged WFR Honda charge in fourth, ahead of Pr1mo Bournemouth Kawasaki's Chris Walker and current series leader Ian Lowry aboard the Padgetts Honda.

Determined to bounce back from a disappointing start to the season, Michael Laverty was a respectable seventh best, ahead of fellow Honda rider James Westmoreland, while Noriyuki Haga was an encouraging ninth as he embarks on his return to Oulton Park for the first time in eight years this weekend. Lowry's team-mate Luca Scassa rounded out the top ten.

Elsewhere, anticipated front runners Stuart Easton, Alastair Seeley and Jon Kirkham were 11th, 13th and 14th respectively, though the former did stop on track with technical issues. Further back, Graeme Gowland lost time with a fall, while Michael Rutter could only manage 22nd after getting his MSS Colchester Kawasaki out on track late

The session also saw the first use of the series' new 'mid-session chequered flag' regulation, brought in as a consequence of riders being unable to remount after an accident. With the session halted at the mid-way stage, the recovery teams had an opportunity to return bikes that had been involved in accidents during the first half to the pit lane.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Tommy Hill Swan Yamaha - [picture credit: Ian Hopgood]
Tommy Hill Swan Yamaha - [picture credit: Ian Hopgood]
Shane Byrne Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki - [picture credit: Ian Hopgood]
Tommy Hill - Jamie Morris
Tommy Hill    [Credit David Salisbury]
Jason O`Halloran, Honda Racing [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Josh Brookes, Anvil Hire Yamaha, [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Shane Byrne, Be Wiser Ducati, [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Luke Mossey, JG Speedfit Kawasaki, [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Peter Hickman, Smiths BMW [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Tommy Bridewell, Team WD-40 Kawasaki [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Bradley Ray, Buildbase Suzuki [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Sylvain Guintoli, Bennetts Suzuki [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
James Ellison, McAMS Yamaha [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Dan Linfoot, Honda Racing [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Alastair Seeley, Tyco BMW [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Lee Jackson, Smiths Racing BMW [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Haslam, Byrne, Mossey, [Credit: Ian Hopgood]

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