James Ellison narrowly shaded the fastest time in FP3 at Silverstone this morning to edge out three-time MCE British Superbike champion Shane 'Shakey' Byrne for the top spot.
Milwaukee Yamaha rider Ellison lapped in 2m 06.389s at the Northamptonshire circuit on the YZF-R1 to pip Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki's Byrne by a mere 0.039s.
Byrne dramatically crashed out at Luffield with 20 minutes of the session remaining, but was able to walk from the ambulance as he arrived at the medical centre for a check-up.
Ellison is confident he can challenge for the race wins tomorrow in the penultimate Showdown round following his double in the Silverstone 200 races at the British MotoGP.
Samsung Honda's Alex Lowes, who trails Byrne at the top of the standings by a single point ahead of the four final races of the season, was also right in contention in third with a late lap of 2m 06.813s lifting him ahead of leading series rookie PJ Jacobsen on the Tyco Suzuki.
Young American Jacobsen's fastest lap of 2m 06.859s left him 0.470s down on Ellison but only 0.046s behind Lowes.
Jacobsen's team-mate, Josh Brookes, was next in fifth position, 0.737s slower than the talented New Yorker, with Matteo Baiocco rounding out the top six on the Team Rapido Sport Ducati.
James Westmoreland (Buildbase BMW), Dan Linfoot (Lloyds British GBmoto Honda), Michael Rutter (Bathams Honda) and Tommy Bridewell on the second Milwaukee Yamaha were the top ten.
Josh Waters was 12th quickest on the Halsall Racing Kawasaki, while Noriyuki Haga was down in 17th position on the Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki, 2.877s off the pace set by Ellison.
Freddy Foray ended FP3 in 18th place on the Samsung Honda as he fills in for the injured Ryuichi Kiyonari.
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