Leon Haslam topped the timesheets as the 2017 MCE British Superbike Championship got underway in near perfect conditions at Donington Park today.
The day marked the first time all BSB machines had been on track together this year after the official pre-season test was washed out with torrential rain last Wednesday.
Haslam’s time of 1’29.313 was just 0.3 seconds off Shane Byrne’s race lap record and enough to put him 0.132 clear of team-mate Luke Mossey in a JG Speedfit whitewash of the opening day.
Josh Brookes marked his intentions by setting the third quickest time for Anvil Hire TAG Yamaha ahead of an equally impressive performance from Peter Hickman on the Smiths BMW.
James Ellison was fifth for McAMS Yamha ahead of MotoRapido Ducati’s John Hopkins with Sylvain Guintoli on the all-new Suzuki GSX-R seventh.
Glenn Irwin led the way for Be Wiser Ducati in the second session after team-mate Shane Byrne, who topped the day’s opening session, only completed six laps in the second practice after his clutch casing came loose. He rounded the day out tenth quickest behind Tyco BMW’s Christian Iddon.
Iddon was one of three fallers at the infamous Craner curves in the afternoon session, the other two being Jackson and Hopkins. Iddon and Hopkins were reported to be OK after their crashes, but Jackson was taken to the medical centre.
Bradley Ray enjoyed a strong opening day to his BSB career in 11th for Buildbase Suzuki to place ahead of former WSB star Davide Giugliano.
It was a tough opening day for Honda with their new Fireblade, Aussie Jason O’Halloran was 14th after the second session and team-mate Linfoot 18th.
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