Croft BSB: Tommy Hill sets the pace

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Tommy Hill was fastest in both the morning damp conditions and in the afternoon sun at Croft on the Worx Crescent Suzuki in preparation for Sunday’s first round of the BSB Showdown.

Hill’s best lap, during free practice, of 1m 21.018secs piled pressure onto the former two times winner of the British crown, Ryuichi Kiyonari, who may start level with Hill on points, but who ran a little over a second off Hill’s pace and six places down the practice leaderboard on his HM Plant Honda.

Hill said: “With only seven races now to determine the championship it’s going to be so important to be on the podium in every race.

"To be champion you need wins as well as podiums, so you have to be consistent but nothing’s clear cut, though for me a double win would certainly go down well.”

Kiyonari admitted he needs to work on certain sections of the circuit to get back up to speed, and given his pedigree at Croft that should not be too difficult.

He has won there on four occasions, including a double success in 2007 as he retained the title, also setting the lap record in the process.

Kiyonari’s team-mate, Josh Brookes, is only a point down on the leading duo, but also has work to do, running ninth fastest on the leaderboard, and the slowest of the title fighters, a split second down on Alastair Seeley aboard the Relentless Suzuki.

Seeley’s team-mate Michael Laverty ran Hill closest, putting in a late challenge to his superiority with a lap in 1m 21.134secs for second overall, with Michael Rutter, twice the runner-up in the series, running third and within a tenth of a second of the Ulsterman on a circuit that he believes is well-suited to his Ducati.
Top ten free practice times:
1.Tommy Hill (Worx Crescent Suzuki) 1:21.018
2.Michael Laverty (Relentless Suzuki by TAS) +0.116s
3.Michael Rutter ( Ducati) +0.242s
4.Dan Linfoot (Motorpoint Yamaha) +0.641s
5.Simon Andrews (MSS Colchester Kawasaki) +0.786s
6.James Ellison (Swan Honda) +1.060s
7.Ryuichi Kiyonari (HM Plant Honda) +1.071s
8.Alastair Seeley (Relentless Suzuki by TAS) +1.125s
9.Josh Brookes (HM Plant Honda) +1.293s
10.Stuart Easton (Swan Honda) +1.431s

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Gary Pinchin

By Gary Pinchin