Having been separated by just 0.001secs in the first practice session, Leon Haslam and Shane Byrne proved to be even more evenly matched in the second outing of the day after producing exactly the same time at the top of the timesheets.

Furthermore, with just eight thousandths of a second separating the top four riders of Haslam, Byrne, Tom Sykes and Cal Crutchlow, this weekend's action is set to be closer than ever.

With a slightly better second fastest lap time, Haslam will be classified as the leading rider from the session, the HM Plant rider putting his lap in with just three minutes to go to bump Byrne down to a slightly cruel second place.

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Nonetheless, with both riders producing a 49.004secs lap time each, they were comfortably two tenths under their marker from the morning when just one thousandth of a second had split them.

A further two thousandths behind was Sykes, the Rizla Suzuki rider getting very close to the top spot himself but being denied by less than a blink of an eye.

Indeed, it was never clear exactly who would emerge from the 50-minute session in front until the very final seconds as Haslam, Michael Rutter, Byrne, Sykes and Crutchlow all enjoyed stints at the top.

Crutchlow had looked as though he'd snatched it though with his lap of 49.012secs, but was eventually bumped down to fourth.

In a session that saw the top ten covered by just half a second, Michael Laverty put in another good showing on the Relentless Suzuki to be fifth fastest, ahead of Rutter, who was delayed by a mechanical problem but was still able to hold onto sixth.

Leon Camier completed a total of 55 laps on the way to seventh, ahead of Kawasaki duo Billy McConnell and Scott Smart. Karl Harris rounded out the top ten on the Rob Mac Yamaha.

With the withdrawal of John Laverty (see separate story), Gary Mason was comfortably fastest in the Daily Star Cup, emerging 12th fastest with a time that left him a whole second quicker than his closest competitor.