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Shane Byrne and Josh Brookes maintained their scintillating pace at Brands Hatch as the opening round of the 2014 MCE British Superbike Championship officially got underway.

Having topped the timesheets during free testing yesterday, Byrne was quicker still as he stopped the clock at 45.576secs, just under two tenths up on Milwaukee Yamaha's new recruit Josh Brookes.

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The only two riders to break 46secs, though the remaining competition was closely packed, they remained four and three tenths adrift of the pace setters respectively.

Continuing his positive start to his new career as a BMW rider, Ryuichi Kiyonari was third fastest for Buildbase, while Chris Walker was once again firmly rooted inside the top five, the BSB veteran turning in the fourth best lap.

Dan Linfoot rounded out the top five on the Quattro Plant Kawasaki, ahead of sole Ducati representative Jakub Smrz on the Millsport machine, while Stuart Easton, James Ellison, James Westmoreland and, impessively, Martin Jessopp concluded the top ten positions.

Elsewhere, Tommy Bridewell was 11th best, with John Hopkins in 13th place, while TT stars Ian Hutchinson and Michael Dunlop ended FP1 20th and 25th out of the 32 riders.