Redding tops practice sessions as British Superbikes come to Snetterton
PUBLISHED: 18:44 19 July 2019 | UPDATED: 19:12 19 July 2019
© Double Red
Scott Redding has never raced at Snetterton before, but wasted no time getting to grips with the three-mile circuit as he topped the time sheets in both opening practice sessions as the British Superbike Championship headed to Norfolk for round six of 12.
The BeWise Ducati rider heads the standings after a win and second place at the previous encounter in Scotland three weeks ago.
In cool, but dry, conditions, Smiths BMW-mounted Peter Hickman, on his return from a one-off ride for the full BMW factory team at the British round of the World Superbike at Donington Park, was second fastest, with TAG Yamaha's Dan Linfoot third.
With the teams concentrating on race set-up ahead of Saturday's third free practice session, and qualifying, Tarran Mackenzie on the Mcams Yamaha improved in the afternoon to move ahead of Hickman on combined times, with Oxford Racing's Tommy Bridewell fourth.
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Thetford's Ryan Vickers made a welcome return to the series after sitting out the previous round due to concussion sustained in a crash at Brands Hatch at the beginning of June. The RAF Regular & Reserves rider, who is in his debut superbike campaign, settled straight back into the groove and was happy with his opening ride back on the 1,000cc Kawasaki.
"Obviously I've had a couple of bad rounds and injured myself, so the plan was to get back on the bike and get some good solid laps in, and that's exactly what I did, so yes, I'm happy," he said.
It wasn't all plain sailing for the Swaffham-based team, who had to wait for their rider to push the bike back to the paddock at the beginning of the second practice after developing a technical problem on the opening lap. Swift work by the pit crew had Vickers back out on track and setting some very competitive times.
Norwich outfit Morello Racing, who have a terrific pedigree in the National 1,000cc Superstock class having won the title twice in recent years, had a steady opening day with both their riders setting leaderboard times. The team have had a difficult start to the season, through no fault of their own, but a podium finish for Chris Rouse at Knockhill looks to have seen them turn the corner, and Morello principal Steve Buckenham will be hoping for a repeat of the victory he enjoyed at his home circuit two years ago.
The Snetterton Race of Aces, lifted by the likes of Mike Hailwood, Giacomo Agostini and Barry Sheene in the 60s and 70s, has been revived and will be awarded to the aggregate winner of the two Superbike races on Sunday.