Seeley has work to do to keep heat on Kennedy at Brands Hatch
British Supersport Championship leader Alastair Seeley ended free practice yesterday in fourth position ahead of today's qualifying and opening race at Brands Hatch, 0.903sec slower than the fastest rider of the day and one of his chief rivals Jack Kennedy.
"I ended the first session of the day in second position, but in the afternoon session I was frustrated being forced to watch from the pits after a technical problem with the EHA Racing Yamaha," said Seeley.
"I only managed six laps and while everyone went quicker, I never really got the chance to improve. We'll get it sorted overnight and be ready for qualifying and the first 12-lap race."
Kennedy, 30 points behind Seeley in the championship chase, is returning from a broken scaphoid bone after a crash at Donington Park last time out.
"I have a lot of people to thank for getting me here this weekend after the crash and operation. I have been having plenty of physio and we'll give it our best shot in the Sprint race," he said.
PBM Be Wiser Ducati pairing Josh Brookes and Scott Redding threw down the gauntlet to the rest of the Superbike opposition finishing first and second in free practice, Australian Brookes 0.481sec ahead of his team-mate.
Spots of rain started to fall with 10 minutes of the second session remaining, but it didn't stop Brookes as he put in the only 1m 25sec lap of the day with five minutes remaining to set the time no one could match.
Tyco BMW rider Christian Iddon came with a late surge to snatch third, one thousandth of a second behind Redding.
For the first time this season Glenn Irwin got the better of brother Andrew, as he gets to grips with the Quattro Plant JG Speedfit.
He ended the day 11th fastest, two places ahead of Andrew's Honda with the second Tyco BMW of Keith Farmer 14th.
David Allingham was 17th fastest with Josh Elliott, a winner at the opening round, down in 20th.
TT star Peter Hickman was second fastest after session one, but despite going quicker in session two he dropped to sixth fastest.
There's a strong Irish contingent in the Superstock 600cc class and Ballynahinch rider Korie McGreevy was fastest ahead of Aaron Clifford, New Zealander Shane Richardson and Caolan Irwin while Kevin Keyes, Eunan McGlinchey, Simon Reid, Sam Laffins and Jordan McCord were all outside the top 10.
In the 1000cc Superstock class Andy Reid was eighth fastest and Graeme Irwin improved by two seconds, jumping from 23rd position to 14th on his first visit to the circuit.
Scott Swann was best of the local Motostar riders in fifth position on his IFS KTM.
Road race action moves to the south of Ireland for the first time this season with the CC's Unlimited North Meath event (formerly Kells) today and tomorrow.
The welcome late addition of BE-RK Racing Suzuki rider Derek Sheils to the entry is a boost for the meeting with Derek McGee, triple Irish road race champion, out of action following his TT practice crash.
The last Kells race was in 2015 when the winner of the Grand Final and Superbike race was the late Alan Bonner and the main race tomorrow is named in his memory. The 33-year old Stanmullen rider lost his life in a crash at the 33rd Milestone during the 2017 Isle of Man TT.
There will be one race this evening for 650cc machines after practice ahead of a 10-race programme tomorrow.