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John Hopkins has stolen top spot in the opening session at Silverstone with his final flyer to displace Michael Laverty, with MCE British Superbike championship leader Josh Brookes in close company in third.

The Tyco BMW rider took control of the timesheet for the majority of the morning session at the Northamptonshire circuit and looked assured of finishing fastest but Lloyds British Moto Rapido Ducati's Hopkins sneaked in a hot lap as the chequered flag fell to bump Laverty down to second.

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As the BSB field got up to speed at a blissful and bright Silverstone, Laverty headed the early proceedings after instantly gelling with the new swingarm at Assen.

It was contrasting fortunes for Laverty's team-mate however, with Bridewell suffering an off at Club corner midway through the morning session.

As the clock ticked down into the final ten minutes BSB championship leader Brookes once again demonstrated his dominant pace on Yamaha YZF-R1 to duck into the 2m 06s but Laverty fought back to reclaim P1 by less than a tenth of a second.

Despite Laverty's control at the top he was pipped by a flying last lap by Hopkins who grabbed the headlines in a very competitive opening session. With Laverty second, Brookes was shifted down to third with fellow Showdown contenders James Ellison fourth and Shane Byrne fifth.

Peter Hickman showed a good return to form by finishing the session sixth ahead of Richard Cooper, Jakub Smrz and Howie Mainwaring Smart as Luke Mossey rounded out the top ten.

Ryuichi Kiyonari, who is returning from an injury which ruled him out of Assen, grabbed 11th on the timesheet as Bridewell's crash limited him to 13th and Honda Racing's Dan Linfoot 14th.