Rizla Suzuki's James Haydon was ninth and Shane 'Shakey' Byrne 10th after the opening day of practice for the 2006 British Superbike season, held in variable weather conditions at Brands Hatch Indy circuit in Kent.
Both riders spent time on circuit acquainting themselves with their GSX-R1000 race bikes and making initial changes to their machines to suit the fast and frantic circuit.
The morning session was wet and dried towards the end while the afternoon practice was dry but cut short by five minutes due to rain. In a change to the weekend format from last year, there is a further free practice session on Saturday morning and then a single qualifying session in the afternoon which will determine grid positions for both races.
Superbike racing starts at 13:15hrs on Sunday, March 26th, at the 1.23-mile long Brands Hatch Indy circuit in Kent. It will be televised live on ITV1 at 15:00hrs.
"The waiting is finally over and it's great to finally get out on track with the rest of the competition. The conditions this morning were horrible but overall it was good to get back in the groove.
"We have identified a few key areas where we want to improve the performance of the Rizla Suzuki and we'll be working to sort those for tomorrow. I ended the day with my bike feeling good and going in the right direction."
"I rode today's sessions well within myself - not using the full track or going near the white lines. We now have an idea where we are in relation to the rest of the field and I need to complete more laps and chip away at my times.
"I can run a good bit faster than the time sheets suggest and I'll be working with my team to find a bit more from the bike during practice and qualifying."
Niall Mackenzie, Race Operations Manager:
"The weather was mixed and both riders took a calculated approach to the sessions. They have given excellent feedback to their technicians with a view to improving their Rizla Suzuki race bikes and we look forward to making more progress tomorrow.
"It is fantastic to be back racing again and the whole team is really excited. There is huge potential with our bikes and we can't wait to get racing."
- 1: Leon Haslam (Ducati) 46.318
- 2: Karl Harris (Honda) +0.019
- 3: Gregorio Lavilla (Ducati) +0.023
- 4: Michael Rutter (Honda) +0.039
- 5: Jonathan Rea (Honda) +0.059
- 6: Glen Richards (Honda) +0.283
- 7: Michael Laverty (Honda) +0.638
- 8: Ryuichi Kiyonari (Honda) +0.825
- 9: James Haydon (Suzuki) +0.882
- 10: Shane Byrne (Suzuki) +0.965