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Samsung Honda's Alex Lowes had the bit between his teeth in the opening free practice session at a wet Thruxton on his CBR1000RR Fireblade.

Heavy rain and high winds made conditions difficult but Lowes was unperturbed as he seized the top spot with a fastest lap of 1m 21.626s on his 11th lap of 12.

Lowes, runner-up in both British Superbike Championship races in the opening round of the 2013 series at Brands Hatch Indy a week ago, was 0.685s faster than Ulsterman Keith Farmer on the Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki ZX-10R.

Czech rider Jakub Smrz was an excellent third on Clive Padgett's Honda, lapping in 1m 22.632s to end FP1 ahead of Tyco Suzuki's Josh Brookes in fourth, who was 1m 0.90s down on Lowes.

Defending champion and Brands race one winner Shane 'Shakey' Byrne on the second of Paul Bird's Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki machines was next with a time of 1m 22.793s, followed by James Westmoreland on the Buildbase BMW.

Peter Hickman on the Lloyds British GBmoto Racing Honda was seventh ahead of the Milwaukee Yamaha pairing of James Ellison and Josh Waters.

Veteran Michael Rutter - who is recovering from a broken leg he suffered in a crash during testing with the Honda TT Legends - rounded out the top ten on the Bathams Honda in a time of 1m 24.091s to finish FP1 2.465s adrift of Lowes.

Samsung Honda's Ryuichi Kiyonari completed 26 laps but could finish no higher than 11th.