Brands Hatch Grand Prix: Byrne and Brookes pull away from the pack

Shane Byrne lays down a marker to beat ahead of qualifying by ducking under the existing lap record around the Brands Hatch GP circuit
Click here to see full BSB FP3 results from Brands Hatch

Shane Byrne has laid down a marker to beat ahead of qualifying by ducking under the existing lap record around the Brands Hatch GP circuit, while Josh Brookes shadowed the defending champion as the pair pulled out half a second on the chasing pack.

In a relatively calm opening to the session Milwaukee Yamaha's Brookes started brightly by chipping away at his fastest lap times. After a brief red flag suspension, caused by Jed Metcher taking a tumble at Stirlings and throwing debris on to the track, the session was reset with 10 minutes to go.

The restart mimicked a qualifying-style sprint session and Byrne took chunks out of his lap times to eventually beat the old lap record with a 1m 25.411s. Brookes ended the session a tenth off Byrne but their times saw the duo leaving Tyco BMW's Tommy Bridewell trailing in third, over half a second behind.

Anvil Hire TAG Kawasaki's Richard Cooper maintained his top five spot while fastest rider on Friday Michael Laverty failed to better his fastest time to slip to fifth.

RAF Reserves BMW's Peter Hickman was able to find some significant gains to end FP3 in sixth ahead of double race winner around the Brands Hatch Indy circuit James Ellison, while Luke Mossey, James Westmoreland and Christian Iddon rounded out the top ten.

John Hopkins continued to make his presence known by finishing the session 11th but front-runners Stuart Easton and Ryuichi Kiyonari struggled and could only manage 18th and 19th on the timesheet respectively.

Brookes, who confidently declared after Friday practice that he would be able to go half a second faster if his Milwaukee Yamaha team could rediscover his front-end feeling, clearly found some strong improvements to become the first rider to duck into the 1m 25s times.

Byrne continued to chip away at his own quickest lap on the PBM Kawasaki and at the midpoint pinched top spot from Brookes by going a tenth faster.

As the session counted down into the final ten minutes it was prematurely halted by a red flag stoppage after PR Racing Kawasaki's Metcher suffered a heavy fall at Stirlings which threw debris on to the track. The Australian was taken to the medical centre as a precaution for checks.

FP3 was restarted with 10 minutes on the clock which provided a qualifying-like scenario and the whole field duly obliged to give a hint to how qualifying may play out.

Byrne improved by half a second to go under the existing BSB lap record – set by Brookes on a Relentless Suzuki in 2011 – while the Australian also made a jump forward to pull out a significant gap on the chasers.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Shane Byrne (GBR) PBM Kawasaki, BSB [Credit: British Superbikes]
Howie Mainwaring Smart, Anvil Hire Yamaha []
Broc Parkes, ePayMe Yamaha, [Credit:]
Luke Mossey, Quattro Plant Kawasaki [Credit:]
Leon Haslam, JG Speedfit Kawasaki, BSB [Credit:]
Dan Linfoot, Honda Racing [Credit:]
Leon Haslam, JG Speedfit Kawasaki, BSB [Credit:]
Broc Parkes, ePayMe Yamaha, [Credit:]
Luke Mossey, Quattro Plant Kawasaki [Credit:]
Michael Laverty, Tyco BMW, BSB [Credit:]
Ryuichi Kiyonari, Smiths BMW [Credit:]
Christian Iddon, Tyco BMW [Credit:]
James Ellison, JG Speedfit Kawasaki [Credit:]
Dan Linfoot, Honda Racing [Credit:]
Jason O`Halloran, Honda Racing [Credit:]
Leon Haslam, JG Speedfit Kawasaki, BSB [Credit:]
James Ellison, JG Speedfit Kawasaki [Credit:]
Luke Mossey, Quattro Plant Kawasaki [Credit:]

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