Alastair Seeley and Glenn Irwin on title charge
The intense rivalry in the British Supersport Championship between the Mar-Train Yamaha of Alastair Seeley, the Gearlink Kawasaki of Glenn Irwin and the Smith's Triumphs of Billy McConnell and Graham Gowland will be renewed this afternoon following a six-week break.
The three-mile Snetterton Circuit in Norfolk is the venue for the third round of the championship and after yesterday's opening two practice sessions Seeley is sandwiched between the two Triumph's, less than four 10ths of a second separating them, while Irwin is down in eighth position, a second behind the leading trio.
Seeley led the way after the first session ahead of McConnell and Gowland, but Australian 'Skippy' McConnell was fastest in the second session to end the day on provisional pole position.
McConnell also leads the championship chase on 76 points with Irwin second on 63 and Seeley just a point behind his east Antrim neighbour – and looking to close the gap on the leader in this afternoon's 10-lap sprint race and tomorrow's 15-lap feature race.
In the EVO class, Eglinton rider David Allingham was third fastest despite a slip off during the second session.
Shayne Byrne led the way by a fifth of a second after yesterday's opening British Superbike practice sessions ahead of Frenchman Julian Da Costa riding a Honda Racing development machine and Czech Republic rider Jakob Smrz of the Ballymoney-based Millsport Ducati Team.
Fresh from the North West and TT, Josh Brookes was fourth fastest on his Milwaukee Yamaha, while Tyco Suzuki pairing John Hopkins and Josh Waters languished in 12th and 16th.
Superstock 600cc championship contender Andy Reid from Newtownabbey could only manage seventh on his FXX Yamaha in first qualifying yesterday, just fractionally behind Carrick rider Andrew Irwin – the pair half a second behind provisional pole setter Jamie Lodge, who leads the series by two points from Reid.
Josh Elliott from Ballinamallard was 11th fastest in the Superstock 1000cc class just ahead of Portadown's Marshall Neill.
BSB organisers MSVR will pay special tribute in memory of Simon Andrews and Karl Harris, who both recently lost their lives competing at the North West 200 and Isle of Man TT, with a fly past by a B-17 Flying Fortress and an RAF Tornado while Simon's RAF Reserve Honda Superbike and Karl's 1999 European Superstock championship-winning machine will be positioned at the head of the BSB grid tomorrow.
In MotoGP, Ulsterman Michael Laverty was 21st fastest during yesterday's practice ahead of tomorrow's Catalunya Grand Prix in Spain, the seventh round of the championship.