BSB: Hickman leads the way at sweltering Thruxton

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Peter Hickman ruled the roost as the seventh round of the 2018 Bennetts British Superbike championship got underway at Thruxton.

With the Hampshire circuit basking in scorching sunshine, track temperature rose to a whopping 48 degrees in the afternoon session meaning some riders set their quickest time in the cooler morning session.

Smiths BMW’s Hickman led the way in both sessions with a quickest of 1’15.385 this morning, which he matched this afternoon despite the increase in track temperature.

The increase in pace will be welcome for the Lincolnshireman, who won and finished second at Thruxton last year but has struggled for speed so far this season.

Glenn Irwin was second quickest for the Be Wiser Ducati squad, ahead of RAF Regular and Reserves Jake Dixon.

Leon Haslam had struggled for pace in the morning session put jumped up the timesheets after switching to a soft tyre at the end of free practice two to place fourth quickest ahead of Tommy Bridewell, who continues to impress on the MotoRapido Ducati.

Honda’s Jason O’Halloran was seventh quickest in the second session to suggest progress as he continues to recover from the broken ankle that sidelined him earlier this year.

Christian Iddon was eighth for Tyco BMW ahead of the second Be Wiser Ducati of Andrew Irwin while double winner last time out Josh Brookes rounded out the top ten.

One man not to feature in the top ten was Buildbase Suzuki’s Bradley Ray, who didn’t switch to fresh rubber towards the end of the session. However, the young gun had shown improvement in FP1 with a time that places him third on the combined timings.

Making his BSB debut with the Honda Racing squad in place of the injured Dan Linfoot, rookie Tom Neave was 24th quickest at the end of the second session, two seconds off the pace.

Oli Rushby

By Oli Rushby

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