Shane Byrne has echoed comments on risk management potentially playing a deciding role in the MCE British Superbike title fight as he was left 'surprised' by topping the timesheet in mixed conditions at Brands Hatch.

The defending BSB champion's late flyer of 1m 37.749s displaced Quattro Plant Kawasaki's Howie Mainwaring Smart from P1 as the chequered flag fluttered at a cloud covered Brands Hatch.

By ending Friday fastest Byrne has grabbed the initiative in the title race as he bids to claw back Brookes' 47-point advantage ahead of the triple-header season finale and echoed the Australian's believe that taking the rights risk will be vital for the title.

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"I think it always boils down to who's prepared to risk the most in conditions like that and I certainly wasn't up for risking it," Byrne said. "I got frustrated at the end because I got stuck in a little bit of traffic that I didn't seem to be able to get out of and I got one lap on the end on my own and that was enough to go fastest, so, it was a little bit of a surprise.

"But that said, it's nice to see P1 at the end of a session for a change. The conditions this morning were obviously a lot wetter than the conditions this afternoon, but this afternoon they weren't really dry enough to have a go on intermediates or slicks."