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British Superbike title contender Alex Lowes was classified quickest in first free practice at Silverstone as the penultimate round of the 2012 season got underway, though only a handful of laps could be completed before a shower consigned most to the pit lane.

With dark clouds looming overhead, the riders ventured onto a dry surface to complete only a couple of laps before the heavens opened and deluged the circuit.

Prior to that, WFR Honda rider Lowes was quickest with a lap of 2min 11.902secs, just ahead of current series leader Josh Brookes on the Tyco Suzuki and Barry Burrell on the Buildbase BMW, while Chris Walker and Peter Hickman rounded out the top five.

The second practice session gets underway at 14.35.