Ryuichi Kiyonari kept HM Plant Honda on top during first free practice at Brands Hatch as the 2011 MCE British Superbike Championship officially got underway.

Having seen team-mate Shane Byrne pace the 'final test', Kiyonari was the dominant force throughout FP1 as he established his lead early on and held firm for almost the entirety of the 40 minute session.

John Hopkins initially gave chase, but he would be dropped to fourth as the two Swan Yamahas squeezed between in second and third position, Michael Laverty closest to Kiyonari less than a tenth adrift.

Josh Brookes bounced back from his fall yesterday to set the fifth fastest time, ahead of the impressive Dan Linfoot, who was sixth quickest on the privateer Sorrymate.com SMT Honda.

With Rapid-Bathams Ducati's Michael Rutter in seventh position and MSS Colchester Kawasaki's Stuart Easton in ninth, six of the seven manufacturers competing in 2011 were classified inside the top ten.

Test pace setter Shane Byrne ended FP1 a more modest tenth quickest, edging out Gary Mason and Motorpoint Yamaha duo Loris Baz and James Westmoreland.

WFR Honda were once again quickest in the EVO category, Alex Lowes leading a 1-2-3 in the order of himself, Graeme Gowland and Glen Richards. Craig Fitzpatrick was fourth quickest, albeit four tenths off the trio.



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