Tommy Hill set the pace in today’s opening free practice session at Cadwell Park – lapping half a second faster than championship rival Shane Byrne in preparation for the final round of the regular season.
But heavy rain left the circuit wet for the afternoon session and it was Byrne setting the pace from TAS Suzuki’s Josh Brookes and Gary Mason on the MSS Kawasaki – although only 10 riders completed more than three laps in the session. Hill was sixth quickest.
Hill said: "It felt good to have been fastest this morning in the dry conditions because we are the only team not to have tested here before this race.
"This afternoon was changing conditions and we just went out on a wet front and intermediate rear to play around with tyres and settings. As for the races, I want to win them.
"I do not want to be in a position of losing the title by a point or two at the end of the season by not going all out for maximum podium credits here so we will be pushing hard tomorrow."
Like Hill, Byrne has already secured his position as a Title Fighter in the Showdown and this morning was suffering with an issue after his first run out on circuit that caused him to nearly crash several times on only his third lap.
In the afternoon session the conditions continued to change at the circuit following a heavy rain storm earlier in the day and the track was drying during the second free practice session.
Shakey and Kiyo both tested a new swingarm which they believe will be an improvement this weekend as the team aim to continue their run of podium form at their home round. Shakey ended the afternoon session fastest with Kiyo ninth following a crash at the Mountain, although he was unhurt.
Shakey said: "I didn't go out in the first part of the opening session as the lap times weren't that fast and I just waited before I went out. Literally I had done one out lap and then a flying one before I had the moment at the bottom of the Mountain, which was pretty close!
I had nearly lost the front three or four times in that lap and I hadn't been pushing hard so something must not have been quite right maybe with the front tyre. We came straight back in and changed it over and it was better but I was surprised to have ended that session second fastest. I didn't feel like I was!
“After the problems we had in the morning session we knew we had a good direction to try in the dry conditions, but with the way the track conditions changing it wasn’t ideal. We had a new swingarm to test and it felt really good but we don’t know the full extent of the improvement until it is completely dry.
“I didn’t go mad so to finish P1 was a bit of a surprise in the second session! It was a steady run around this afternoon and it has been all good so far.”