News 18 Jun 2011

Hill tops wet Friday practice sessions at Knockhill BSB round

Yamaha's Tommy Hill was fastest in wet conditions on Friday at Knockhill.

Yamaha's Tommy Hill was fastest in wet conditions on Friday at Knockhill.

Swan Yamaha’s Tommy Hill remained ahead of his MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship title rivals after the second free practice session at Knockhill on Friday as he fended off the closing Loris Baz and John Hopkins in the closing stages.

“It is good to be up at the sharp end again today and being fastest shows that we are heading in the right direction for the rest of the weekend,” Hill said. “It hasn’t been ideal with the wet conditions but I am feeling happy with how it has gone and we have only had to make a few tweaks today to the Swan Yamaha.

“We know that we have the pace in the wet so we will have to see what happens if it changes tomorrow, but I am sure whether it is wet or dry we can roll up and be running where we need to be. We are feeling good and we want to keep it going tomorrow for qualifying.”

As the session got underway Michael Laverty was the first of the leading contenders to set a fast lap, but the Swan Yamaha duel started early as just a few minutes later teammate Hill went back to the top of the timesheets.

The Swan Yamaha top two didn’t last long as Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne then went faster and the HM Plant Honda championship leader remained at the top despite Josh Brookes coming close when he posted the second fastest time for Relentless Suzuki with 20 minutes remaining.

Hill was soon on a charge again though and he fired himself back ahead of the leading HM Plant Honda and then Laverty did the same to push ‘Shakey’ to third.

Motorpoint Yamaha’s Loris Baz also joined the fray and with just eight minutes remaining went second fastest to separate the two Swan Yamahas.

Samsung Crescent Racing Suzuki’s John Hopkins had a steady start to his afternoon but in the final ten minutes he moved fifth and then third to push Laverty back a further place to fourth ahead of Byrne and Brookes.

The second HM Plant Honda of Ryuichi Kiyonari had moved as high as fourth but as he ended the session in seventh ahead of MSS Colchester Kawasaki’s Gary Mason. BSB Evo contender Simon Andrews was eighth overall and fastest of the class ahead of Jon Kirkham who rounded out the top ten despite a crash at Leslies with 15 minutes remaining.