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Having speculated that he would be on the back foot this weekend due to injuries sustained in accident at Brands Hatch two weeks ago, James Ellison got his Oulton Park British Superbike weekend off to a perfect start nonetheless by topping first free practice.

Fresh from his podium finish on the Lloyds British GBmoto Kawasaki at Brands Hatch, Ellison ended the first practice session of the BSB weekend with a time just 0.005secs up on Shane Byrne.

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Heading up four Kawasakis inside the top five, Ellison and Byrne were joined in the leading order by Stuart Easton in third and Chris Walker in fifth, with only Buildbase BMW's Ryuichi Kiyonari getting between the ZX-10R contingent in fourth.

Josh Brookes headed up the Milwaukee Yamaha charge in sixth place, ahead of Richard Cooper on the TAG Kawasaki, Dan Linfoot on the Quattro Plant Kawasaki and Jakub Smrz on the Milsport Ducati. James Westmoreland completed the top ten.

Elsewhere, it was a difficult start to the weekend for John Hopkins, who won his first BSB race at Oulton Park in 2011. The American was only 25th best, while Tyco Suzuki team-mate Josh Waters was just 19th fastest himself.

Meanwhile, it has been confirmed that Lee Costello has split with the Halsall Kawasaki team, with Harry Hartley now the team's sole rider.