Karl Harris on the HM Plant Honda showed the rest of the British Superbike paddock a clean pair of heels when he set the fastest lap in free practice three at Thruxton in preparation for the third round for the Bennetts British Superbike Championship.
“Bomber” Harris lapped in a superb 1min 15.432sec, 0.145secs under the current lap record which is held by Airwaves Ducati's Gregorio Lavilla who was lapping in second place. The second Airwaves machine was third with Leon Haslam on board, and fourth was Red Bull Honda's Johnny Rea. Unfortunately for Rea he crashed at Allards towards the end of the session without injury.
The Hawk Kawasaki of Dean Thomas was in an excellent fifth place lapping just outside the 1min 15secs bracket. Ryuichi Kiyonari was just behind the green machine in seventh position. Early in the session the HM Plant rider was under observation as was his team-mate, an unusual situation for the normally mechanically sound Hondas.
Privateer Cup title holder James Buckingham took up tenth place on his Quay Garage Honda. The fast privateer wants to score as many BSB Championship points this season and try to beat established riders. He didn't get his season off to a good start with an engine failure that left him unable to race at Brands Hatch, so he opted to replace his Suzuki with an ex-Stobart Honda. Looks like the new machine is suiting him, and if he can pull off a similar time in qualifying he could be on for that much coveted top ten finish.
Sean Emmett was further down the field than he had been hoping for although he is happy with the progress that is being made with his bike. He was in a lowly twenty first place and is suffering from a heavy cold. Just behind him was Steve Plater on the JJL Honda – Plater has swapped rides with Danny Beaumont who is now riding the Dienza Kawasaki. Plater has been working on set up of his new Honda, as well as riding in the Supersport class.
BSB free practice three – Thruxton:
1. Karl Harris
2. Gregorio Lavilla
3. Leon Haslam
4. Johnny Rea
5. Dean Thomas
6. Ryuichi Kiyonari
7. James Haydon
8. Shane Byrne
9. Michael Rutter
10. James Buckingham C