BSB: Byrne tops opening day at Brands Hatch

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Shane Byrne led the way as the second round of the 2018 Bennetts British Superbike Championship got underway at Brands Hatch today.

Overnight rainfall saw things get off to a soggy start on the 1.2-mile Indy circuit with many riders opting not to spend too much time on track in the iffy conditions as the track slowly started to dry.

Warmer temperatures and a fully dry track for the first time this season made things interesting in FP2 with the top spot frequently changing hands throughout the 45-minute session.

James Ellison, Christian Iddon, Glenn Irwin and Jason O’Halloran were all quickest at various points during the session, but it was reigning champion Shane Byrne who would storm to the top of the timesheets in the closing moments.

Byrne clocked a time of 45’384 seconds, less than two tenths under the lap record, as he tried a new swing-arm option from Ducati Corse for the first time.

Lap record holder James Ellison was second quickest on the Anvil Hire TAG Racing Yamaha, 0.175 seconds behind Byrne and ahead of Christian Iddon, who got off to a strong start for the Tyco BMW squad.

Double winner at the Indy circuit last year, Luke Mossey was fourth fastest ahead of the leading Honda of Jason O’Halloran, who had topped the morning’s wet session.

Glenn Irwin was sixth quickest for Be Wiser Ducati ahead of the Smiths BMW of Peter Hickman, while Richard Cooper surprised to place top Suzuki in ninth. Jake Dixon rounded out the top ten for RAF Regular and Reserves Kawasaki.

Championship leader Bradley Ray was just 17th quickest, but remains unfazed after using only one tyre throughout the session. Josh Brookes was another to languish further down the timesheets than he’d have liked placing 13th for McAMS Yamaha.

The session was momentarily stopped when Honda Racing’s Dan Linfoot crashed at Graham Hill bend. The Yorkshireman was taken to the medical centre and has since been transported to hospital for further checks. Smiths BMW’s Sylvain Barrier was also a crasher. 

Oli Rushby

By Oli Rushby

Former sports reporter covering British Superbikes, World Superbikes and road racing