After the wet FP1 session at Oulton Park in Cheshire, the BSB field took to the track in much more favourable conditions this afternoon of 14deg and a dry track. There are two changes to the regular field this weekend with Tris Palmer deputising for the injured Dan Linfoot at GBMoto and MH Kawasaki team boss Michael Howarth riding his own bike whilst Luke Quigley recovers from his crash at Thruxton.
|Lowes takes top spot in FP2|
The early running was made by Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki man Shane Byrne; Shakey was the first man to crack the 100mph average lap this weekend on only his third lap to post a 1:36.6s and was soon joined in the ton-up club by Samsung Honda’s Alex Lowes who, on his very next circulation, pipped Byrne for the number one spot by 0.064s. At the mid way point of the session the timing screens read Lowes, from Byrne, Ellison, Hickman showing well in fourth with Brookes, Farmer, Walker, Jacobson, Kirkham and Mainwaring rounding out the top ten.
After a recent test at Knockhill Samsung, Hondas triple BSB champion Ryuichi Kiyonari declared himself happy with the bike as they had found a good setting but at Oulton Park he again looks to be struggling with the Honda Fireblade in 2013 BSB spec and with 15 minutes of the session remaining was still languishing down in 20th place, some 3.6s behind fastest man, team mate Lowes.
After his huge accident at Thruxton, Bathams Honda Tommy Bridewell hauled his gashed leg in to the top ten with ten minutes remaining as Milwaukee Yamaha’s James Ellison and Quattro Plant Kawasaki veteran Chris Walker improved their times to sneak ahead of Hickman. Other riders of note yet to challenge the top ten were Josh Waters, who highsided at Old Hall Corner during the recent test at the circuit, and Padgetts Honda Jakub Smrz who, unusually, was out on a STK1000 machine earlier in the day.
A late charge from Tyco Suzuki’s Josh Brookes saw him snatch third from Ellison but neither had any answer to the pace of the front two of Lowes and Byrne with Brookes 0.600s adrift of the most successful BSB rider ever. Buildbase BMW John Kirkham put two great laps together before the chequered flag came out eleveating himself from 10th to 7th to 5th ahead of a fast-finishing Bridewell and Walker.
A final, frantic last circulation of the leafy parkland circuit by both Brookes and Byrne closed the gap between the top three to almost nothing, Brookes joining the top two in the 100mph average speed club and as the flag fell it was Lowes from Byrne from Brookes separated by just 0.078s. Ellison, Kirkham, Bridewell, Hickman, Walker, Farmer and Jacobsen rounded out the top ten positions.
Full classification for FP2 here