Alex Lowes topped the time sheets after the first day of action at the penultimate MCE British Superbike round of 2013, finishing over half a second ahead of Shane Byrne with a late lap on the drying track.
After using the early stage of the session to gather data, Lowes was then able to put in a fast lap time in the closing seconds of the 45 minute session to take provisional pole.
“That was really our first session of the weekend, with this morning getting rained off” Lowes said after the second free practice. “The track was still damp in patches, so I wasn’t going to do something stupid. The grip levels were pretty low, and it’s stupid to crash in the Showdown, but the bike was feeling good. There’s still loads to work on though, and we can go two or three seconds quicker tomorrow.”
Shane Byrne was second, while Josh Brookes finished out the front row, with the fourth of the title favourites, James Ellison in fourth.
However, there were a number of front runners who struggled in the damp session, with Tommy Bridewell in 13th, the last of the Title Fighter James Westmoreland in 14th, and Nori Haga in 16th.
Bridewell said afterwards that a number of minor issues had cost the team: "That wasn't really a good session for us - it was a bit of a f@*k-up to be honest. I went using the wrong helmet, a few things like that. The middle of the session was good, but we kept the same rear tyre in all session to see how it'll last in the race."
Josh Waters, still adapting to the Halsall Kawasaki after his switch from Yamaha was 15th, and Freddy Foray, deputising for an injured Ryuichi Kiyonari, was in 17th.