Coming off the back of a successful test at the 2.69-mile-long Cheshire track last week when Shakey led the way, the 29-year-old started where he left off and was not going to be beaten today.
In bright sunshine Haydon built up his pace in both 50-minute long practice sessions and ended up fourth just a quarter of a second behind his team mate.
Superbike racing starts at 14:00 on Bank Holiday Monday, May 1st at Oulton Park in Cheshire.
“It’s great to be at the sharp end of the timesheets – we are still learning more about the Rizla Suzuki and getting quicker with every session.
“I made a change to the rear suspension on my bike with only a few minutes to go and I thought it made another improvement. That will be my starting point for practice and qualifying tomorrow. With a bit of luck we can keep this momentum going through the races on Monday.”
“After two tough race meetings it feels really good to be so close to the top of the time sheets. Our test here last week has given us a lot to work with and that, combined with all the work the team has been doing, is showing some promising results.
“I am comfortable on the bike and made some minor changes through the day. I then sat down with my crew and we discussed a plan we think will cut the lap times further tomorrow. It’s been a good first day for me and the team.”
Niall Mackenzie - Race Operations Manager:
“The improvement in performance started at the last round at Thruxton when Shakey had two dry races where he had to try hard and fight through the traffic. He was able to push the GSX-R1000 further than ever before and has given valuable feedback to his mechanics to help further develop the bike.
“We enjoyed a successful test here a week ago with both riders. We have come here with a clear plan of action and so far it’s working.
“Dunlop supplied the team with some new tyres this weekend and both riders found them to be an advantage. They recorded their fastest lap times on tyres that will last race distance, so all-in-all we are in good shape at the end of practice day.”
Practice Times: 1: Shane Byrne (Rizla Suzuki) 1:36.543, 2: Leon Haslam (Ducati) +0.008, 3: Karl Harris (Honda) +0.046, 4: James Haydon (Rizla Suzuki) +0.253, 5: Gregorio Lavilla (Ducati) +0.717, 6: Tommy Hill (Yamaha) +0.810, 7: Michael Rutter (Honda) +0.920, 8: Jonathan Rea (Honda) +0.974, 9: Ryuichi Kiyonari (Honda) +1.069, 10: Dean Thomas (Kawasaki) +1.328.