Brookes the man to beat at Oulton Park
Picking up where he left off in last week’s test, Be Wiser Ducati’s Josh Brookes topped the timesheets in both of Saturday’s free practice sessions ahead of the Bank Holiday weekend’s second round of the 2019 Bennetts British Superbike Championship from Oulton Park.
The Australian brought his morning leading time of 1:35.624 down to 1:34.321 as the Cheshire track warmed up this afternoon, having previously completed the pre-event test a full second quicker than anybody. Danny Buchan was best of the rest today for FS-3 Racing Kawasaki, despite being seven tenths of a second down on Brookes, as the Essex man visits the circuit on which he scored his first BSB podiums in 2015.
Running a new Suter swingarm, Peter Hickman showed good pace for Smiths Racing in third, while Luke Mossey continued OMG Racing Suzuki’s run of good form in fourth ahead of Oxford Racing’s Tommy Bridewell. Following the recent test, Bridewell complimented the new Ducati Panigale V4R’s lack of wheelie and put this down to its aerodynamic wings. Tyco’s Christian Iddon was sixth, meaning two of the new BMW S1000RRs are placed inside the top six.
Ryan Vickers was a standout performer, placing his RAF Regular and Reserves Kawasaki between the two McAMS Yamahas in eighth, while seventh-placed Jason O’Halloran informed MCN that the shoulder pain he incurred at the test is now a thing of the past. Team-mate Tarran Mackenzie was ninth but confident, with setup changes already scheduled for Sunday morning practice, while Keith Farmer made it two Tyco bikes inside the top ten. 11th was OMG’s Josh Elliot, joint championship leader with Mackenzie, currently struggling to find a good balance with his chassis.
Bradley Ray was 12th on the top Buildbase Suzuki while Brookes’ team-mate Scott Redding ended the day 13th, continuing to absorb the International Circuit at Oulton which is one of the hardest on the calendar learn; its blind crests and late turn-in points, as explained by the former MotoGP man to MCN, require a learning process based more on instinct as opposed to the more usual method of visual references.
Qualifying takes place on Sunday ahead of the third and fourth races of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship on Bank Holiday Monday.