Leon Haslam posted the quickest time in the final free practice session at Croft ahead of the latest rounds of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship.

With conditions far from ideal and the track drying as the session progressed, Haslam ended the session with a best time of 1min 25.233secs, which put him almost a second clear of HM Plant team-mate Cal Crutchlow.

Crutchlow had been the early pace-setter in the session but the red-flags were brought out after barely ten minutes when Jason O'Halloran, making his debut this weekend on the SMT Honda, suffered an engine problem that left the circuit coated in oil.

With the field then waiting in pitlane to be given the green flag to head back out on track, Crutchlow improved his position at the head of the pack before James Ellison went quickest for the Hydrex Honda squad. Privateer Chris Burns was also impressing and went second overall on the only MV Augusta in the field.

However, as the session drew towards a close, both HM Plant riders were able to improve with Haslam going to the top of the timesheets with just two minutes remaining and Crutchlow also setting his best time late on to put the Honda squad 1-2 on the times ahead of qualifying. Their late laps demoted Ellison to third while Michael Laverty was another rider to leave it late in the session as his final lap lifted him to fourth.

Burns was still a highly impressive fifth ahead of Guy Martin, while David Johnson, Simon Andrews, Tristan Palmer and Tom Tunstall rounded out the top ten.

A number of the 'big hitters' elected not to venture out on track, with Airwaves Ducati pairing Shane Byrne and Leon Camier both elected to take a watching brief for the session. Karl Harris and Tom Sykes did leave the pits but neither set a representative lap-time, instead deciding to just perform sighter laps before parking up in the garage.


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