Michael Laverty set the pace in the official BSB test at Snetterton today (Thursday) on his Samsung Honda, setting a best time of 1:48.5 that was full second quicker than his closest rivals Tommy Hill and Alex Lowes.
Laverty said: “Yesterday at Brands Hatch we tested a new GPMS swing-arm but didn’t come to a proper conclusion. We did a back-to-back comparison today and are set on using the kit swing-arm for now.
"It gave us better grip and I did my best lap times using it. I’m really happy because the times we were doing were consistent and we now look forward to the next test at Cadwell Park.”
Laverty’s closest rival was Hill with a 1:49.5. The Swan Yamaha rider said: "It was difficult to get a clear run on track today with so much traffic out there but we are definitely in the ball park of where we need to be.
“Honda have had two days here so you would expect them to be up there. We have made good headway. We just need to fine tune the fuelling and then we will be ready for the first round at Brands Hatch."
Lowes matched Hill’s time with the WFR Honda. He said: “The new fuel tank has improved the balance of the bike. We’ve improved corner entry but still need to do some work on the front-end feel.
"But I’m pretty happy with how things are going.”
Shane Byrne and the Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki team refused to reveal their lap time but Shakey admitted he had ‘not done a 1:48 – but bettered the 1:50s.’
He also said that changes made late in the afternoon had made him feel much more comfortable with the bike and that his lap times, in the cooler late afternoon conditions, were competitive with everyone else.
Jon Kirkham dipped into the 1:49s early in the morning but was then lucky to walk away from a 120mph crash at the end of the Bentley Straight. He was unhurt and continued with the remaining sessions, picking up his pace back to the 1:49s by the end of the afternoon.
Josh Brookes, Alastair Seeley, Luca Scassa, Ian Lowry, Graeme Gowland and
James Westmoreland were all in the low 1:50s.
Tyco TAS Suzuki’s Brookes, like Byrne, picked up the pace late in the day. He said: "We had a series of minor issues and then some red flags so it was frustrating not being able to get into a rhythm until our last run with a new tyre.
"We changed the shock link to improve tyre life and I was able to do a 1:50.0s so we can leave here on a high note."
Seeley was just two tenths off his team-mate’s time and said: "Today has been better for me than yesterday at Brands Hatch. I feel more comfortable on the Tyco Suzuki now. We softened the rear to soak up the bumps and I hope it works when we get back to Brands Hatch.
"I’m more confident on the power now, before I was not getting the feeling I needed but now we’re in the range of where we need to be. It’s just getting the tyres to last over race distance now."
Noriyuki Haga was in the high 1:51s but this was his first visit to Snetterton and he seemed happy with progress made with Swan Yamaha R1 set-up. "Today was my first time on track here so to begin with I spent some sessions learning the circuit as this will be important for later in the season.” he said.
Moto Rapido failed to show at Snetterton after having Scott Smart’s engine fail at Brands the previous day. Tom Tunstall and Alex Polita shared the single Jentin Doodson Motorsport Panigale at Snetterton.
Also making their first public appearance with a new, full superbike chassis were Splitlath Redmond Aprilia for John Laverty and Florian Marino – but their bikes are still running the superstock-spec motors from last season.
Snetterton test: Unofficial times
Michael Laverty (Samsung Honda) 1:48.5
Tommy Hill (Swan Yamaha) 1:49.5s
Alex Lowes (WFR Honda) 1:49.5s
Shane Byrne (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki) low 1:49s (estimated)
Jon Kirkham (Samsung Honda) high 1:49.s
Josh Brookes (Tyco Suzuki) 1:50.0s
Alastair Seeley (Tyco Suzuki) 1:50.2s
Luca Scassa (Padgetts Honda) low 1:50s
Ian Lowry (Padgetts Honda) low 1:50s
Graeme Gowland (WFR Honda) low 1:50s
James Westmoreland (WFR Honda) low 1:50s
Michael Rutter (MSS Bathams Kawasaki) 1:51.2s
Florian Marino (Splitlath Redmond Aprilia) 1:51.2
Noriyuki Haga (Swan Yamaha) 1:51.7s
Peter Hickman (MSS Bathams Kawasaki) 1:52.2s
John Laverty (Splitlath Redmond Aprilia) 1:53.1
Source: Participating teams unofficial times
No times available
Stuart Easton (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki)
Tristan Palmer (GB Moto Honda)
Luke Quigley (GB Moto Honda)
Tom Tunstall (Jentin Doodson Ducati)
Alex Polita (Jentin Doodson Ducati)
Jenny Tinmouth (Hardinge sorrymate.comHonda)
Dan Linfoot (Buildbase BMW)
Barry Burrell (Buildbase BMW)
Chris Walker (Pr1mo Burnemouth Kawaaki)
James Hillier (Pr1mo Burnemouth Kawaaki)
Teams absent from test
PR Racing (Gary Mason, Freddy Foray)
Supersonic (Anthony West, Patric Muff)
MotoRapdio (Scott Smart, Abdulaziz Binladin)