Josh Brookes sets the BSB pace at Brands hatch

Track action at Brands Hatch (photo by Double Red)Australian Josh Brookes closed in on the Brands Hatch Indy circuit lap record as he headed off the challenges of local hero Shane “Shakey” Byrne

in free practice for the Easter Monday opening round of the MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship.

The Aussie had made significant changes across the two sessions to his Milwaukee Yamaha and in the frantic afternoon session he was able to fire in a series of consistent laps, the best of which a 45.506s was just 0.0046s adrift of the lap record set in 2007 by Gregorio Lavilla.

Brookes said: “I’m really pleased with how the afternoon has gone and we have had some good benefits across the day. The changes we have made have been good value for money in terms of paying off. I’ve been able to do good lap times on longer runs on an old tyre and I feel good about that. They say that Shakey is the Master of Brands Hatch but I am ready to give him a run for his money now. We are ready for anything and today’s final laps nicely put a bow on the end of the sessions.”

Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki’s Byrne is firmly in the frame to add to his record haul of 51 race victories having been duelling for the top spot on the time sheets throughout the session with Brookes as just 0.171s separated them. However the pack are all in close contention with just 0.977s covering the top 19 riders at the end of the second session.

Czech Republic rider Jakub Smrz aboard the Millsport Ducati set the third best lap with a time, a split second up on Flying Scot Stuart Easton, who is back in the top flight on the back of winning last year’s Motorpoint British Supersport title.

Chris Walker, four times the series runner-up, set fifth best time on the Lloyds British GBmoto Kawasaki, just ahead of his team-mate James Ellison whilst James Westmoreland narrowly edged out Ryuichi Kiyonari as the Buildbase BMW pair held seventh and eighth respectively.

RAF Reserves Honda’s Simon Andrews set the ninth fastest time as five different manufacturers featured in the top ten ahead of Martin Jessopp on the RidersRacing BMW.

Free practice one:
1: Shane Byrne (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki) 45.576s
2: Josh Brookes (Milwaukee Yamaha) +0.125s
3: Ryuichi Kiyonari (Buildbase BMW) +0.497s
4: Chris Walker (Lloyds British GBmoto Racing Kawasaki) +0.498s
5: Dan Linfoot (Quattro Plant Kawasaki) +0.500s
6: Jakub Smrz (Millsport Ducati) +0.586s
7: Stuart Easton (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki)
8: James Ellison (Lloyds British GBmoto Racing Kawasaki) +0.667s
9: James Westmoreland (Buildbase BMW) +0.673s
10: Martin Jessopp (RidersRacing BMW) +0.678s

Free practice two:
1: Josh Brookes (Milwaukee Yamaha) 45.506s
2: Shane Byrne (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki) +0.171s
3: Jakub Smrz (Millsport Ducati) +0.262s
4: Stuart Easton (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki) +0.296s
5: Chris Walker (Lloyds British GBmoto Racing Kawasaki) +0.345s
6: James Ellison (Lloyds British GBmoto Racing Kawasaki) +0.520s
7: James Westmoreland (Buildbase BMW) +0.593s
8: Ryuichi Kiyonari (Buildbase BMW) +0.599s
9: Simon Andrews (RAF Reserves Honda) +0.611s
10: Martin Jessopp (RidersRacing BMW) +0.614s

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