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A last gasp lap from Josh Brookes was enough to give him honours at the end of the first free practice session at Donington Park, the Tyco Suzuki rider just edging out Showdown contender Alex Lowes.

With Tommy Hill, Josh Brookes, Shane Byrne - who is absent this weekend due to injury - and Michael Laverty all safely through to the impending 'Title Showdown', attention turns to the eight riders fighting it out for the remaining fifth and sixth spots.

As it stands, Tommy Bridewell and Lowes are in the right position ahead of the two races, but while Lowes signalled his intentions with a strong turn in FP1 just 0.007secs behind Brookes having led the way for much of the session, Supersonic BMW rider Bridewell was only 21st best.

Even so, his main rivals didn't fare much better, with Ian Lowry only 15th after suffering with technical issues, while Noriyuki Haga was 14th fastest, the Japanese rider nonetheless showing a decent turn of pace despite his injured collarbone.

Back at the front, Laverty was third quickest on the Samsung Honda, while Lowes's team-mate James Westmoreland, who is mathematically also in with a shout of the top six, was fourth fastest.

Keen to turn around what has been a disappointing first season in BSB, Luca Scassa was fifth fastest around the circuit he claimed a World Supersport Championship win at in 2011.

Alastair Seeley was sixth best on the second Tyco Suzuki, ahead of Danny Buchan and Barry Burrell on their respective Kawasaki and BMW machines, while Scott Smart made a welcome top ten appearance on the steadily improving Moto Rapido Ducati 1199 Panigale in ninth. Championship leader Tommy Hill, meanwhile, could only manage 11th best.

Elsewhere, Alex Polita was 25th fastest on his return to BSB action aboard the new Lloyds British Ducati 1199 Panigale, while newcomer Troy Herfoss, who replaces John Laverty at Splitlath Redmond Aprilia this weekend, was 27th.