Leon Haslam has started his home British Superbike round as he means to go on, putting in the fastest time of the opening day at Donington Park this bank-holiday weekend with a 1.32.152.
Haslam set the time in the second free practice session which was hit by two red flag incidents, both involving Riders Racing’s Martin Jessopp.
Martin Jessopp crashed at Craner Curves just 15 minutes into the session after Dean Ellison’s Co-ordit Racing Yamaha spewed oil over the racing line down the fast left hander leading into the old hairpin.
Moments before, Shane Byrne, the fastest man in Free Practice 1 crashed out at Goddards but missed no time as the red flags were waved to allow time to clean up Ellison’s spillage.
And with nine minutes of the restarted session remaining, Jessopp got caught up in an incident with Lloyds British Jentin Yamaha rider Simon Andrews going into Redgate corner with Jessopp going down and causing another stoppage.
Rob Mac Racing Yamaha representative Karl Harris had dominated the second free practice session on his return to British Superbike racing after deciding to sit out the Brands Hatch re-run a fortnight ago to recover from the injuries sustained at Thruxton and Oulton Park.
But the tough Yamaha man was denied the fastest time by the storming HM Plant pairing of Leon Haslam and team-mate Cal Crutchlow who swapped the top spot over the last few minutes.
Cal Crutchlow ended the day with a 1.32.225 ahead of Karl Harris and Free Practice 1 fastest-man, Shane Byrne.
Tom Sykes followed the Airwaves Ducati championship leader with a fifth fastest time, ahead of the remaining two Ducati Superbikes of Michael Rutter and Leon Camier who are riding with the increased 175kg minimum weight ballast for today and tomorrow.