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Hill piles on the pressure ahead of BSB qualifying

Saturday, July 02 2011

Swan Yamaha's Tommy Hill left it until the final seconds of the third free practice session to take the top spot ahead of this afternoon's qualifying as he stole the advantage from James Westmoreland who looked set to make his mark on the Snetterton 300.

Shane 'Shakey' Byrne was the first rider to set the benchmark ten minutes into the session ahead of Hill and Loris Baz, but Josh Brookes then went ahead and the Relentless Suzuki was able to remain there as he kept improving in the early stages of the session.

Westmoreland then fired the Motorpoint Yamaha ahead with 20 minutes remaining as he moved back up the order to displace Aussie Brookes from the top of the times. The BSB rookie held the top spot until the final seconds when Hill stormed ahead to be back at the head of the field.

John Hopkins had a slow start to the session; spending a lot of time in the garage which meant the Samsung Crescent Racing Suzuki rider wasn't able to move back up the order until just over ten minutes remaining of the session as he moved second with eleven minutes to go. The American later dropped to third as Westmoreland continued to improve the pace, with Brookes dropping to fourth in the closing stages.

Michael Laverty was fifth fastest on the second of the Swan Yamahas as he edged ahead of Byrne who was sixth, just ahead of team-mate Ryuichi Kiyonari who moved back inside the top ten. Peter Hickman recovered from his small crash at Agostini yesterday in eighth with Dan Linfoot and Jon Kirkham rounding out the top ten. It was disappointment for Alex Lowes as he crashed in the opening laps and was unable to rejoin the session for the MSS Colchester Kawasaki team. Graeme Gowland led the Mirror.co.uk BSB EVO contenders ahead of Andrews and Smart.

MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship, Snetterton, free practice three:

1. Tommy Hill (Swan Yamaha) 1m:48.591s
2. James Westmoreland (Motorpoint Yamaha) +0.022s
3. John Hopkins (Samsung Crescent Racing Suzuki) +0.114s
4. Josh Brookes (Relentless Suzuki) +0.254s
5. Michael Laverty (Swan Yamaha) +0.331s
6. Shane Byrne (HM Plant Honda) +0.363s
7. Ryuichi Kiyonari (HM Plant Honda) +0.470s
8. Peter Hickman (Tyco Honda) +0.785s
9. Dan Linfoot (Sorrymate.com Honda) +0.866s
10. Jon Kirkham (Samsung Crescent Racing Suzuki) +1.053s

You can still purchase tickets for the Snetterton round of the MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship this weekend on the gate with adult admission £12 on qualifying day (Saturday) and £30 on raceday (Sunday), children 12 and under go free. For further ticket information call 0843 453 9000 or click the link below.