Shakey tried two bikes with different settings to compare performance and has found a strong direction for improving his pace tomorrow.
Steve Plater was 16th on his debut ride for the team standing in for the injured James Haydon. He wisely spent the day acclimatising himself with the Rizla Suzuki race bike. He is happy with what he learnt about his GSX-R1000 and is confident he can slash his lap times tomorrow.
Ducatiís Leon Haslam topped todayís timesheets.
James Haydon will join the Rizla Suzuki team on Sunday to lend his support for the double-header races. He is continuing to recover from a heavy crash in mid-June that left him with a broken left foot, injured shoulder and damaged ligaments in his left knee.
Superbike racing starts at 1315 on Sunday, July 23rd, at the 2.69-mile long Oulton Park circuit in Cheshire.
ďOn one bike I tried a set up that we raced here in May when I finished on the podium. My spare GSX-R1000 was set up as per my Knockhill race-winning bike. Both had strong and weak points. The plan now is to merge the strengths together in a bike that I can run tomorrow morning. If it works Iíll have the complete package and Iíll be going for it in qualification.
ďIím glad to say I donít have a stomach problem like I did on my last visit to the circuit and feel in tip-top shape. I like Oulton Park and the hot weather. Iím enjoying myself.Ē
ďI tried both race bikes to find a comfortable setting and made an early decision which one would be my number one machine. The Rizla Suzuki GSX-R1000 I have settled on is incredibly friendly to ride.
ďWe will not be making many changes to the bike because I need to get up to speed with it rather than the other way round. I think it is competitive as it sits but by the end of the day I was over-riding it, which meant I wasnít posting my best lap times. Iíll be fresh tomorrow and think there is a lot more to come.Ē
Niall Mackenzie - Race Operations Manager:
ďItís good to see Shakey on front-row pace during practice and relaxed in the garage with his mechanics. Heís already faster than he was on the teamís last visit to Oulton Park and has an idea how to further improve his bike. He is also riding well within himself, which is encouraging.
ďSteve is working hard to get to grips with his Rizla Suzuki. Itís been a while since his last competitive ride and it is amazing how much muscling a Superbike can take out of you physically. He knows what to expect and will be prepared and ready to go in the morning.Ē
Practice Times: 1: Leon Haslam (Ducati) 1:35.788, 2: Ryuichi Kiyonari (Honda) +0.164, 3: Karl Harris (Honda) +0.176, 4: Shane Byrne (Rizla Suzuki) +0.545, 5: Jonathan Rea (Honda) +0.920, 6: Gregorio Lavilla (Ducati) +1.038, 7: Tommy Hill (Yamaha) +1.083, 8: Michael Rutter (Honda) +1.134, 9: Scott Smart (Suzuki) +1.780, 10: Glen Richards (Honda) +1.939. 16: Steve Plater (Rizla Suzuki) +2.459.