James, who missed four rounds of the Championship after injuring himself at Snetterton in mid-June, eased himself back into riding, but still managed to slash over half a second from his lap times from the morning to afternoon sessions and finished 15th on the time sheets.
Rizla Suzuki’s Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne also took more than half a second from his lap times throughout the day and ended up sixth fastest. Honda’s Jonathan Rea was quickest.
Superbike racing starts at 1310 on Sunday, September 17th, at the 12th round of the series at Silverstone in Northamptonshire. It will be shown on ITV1 at 1435 and on Sky Sports 2 at 2300.
“I need to familiarize myself with riding a motorcycle at race speed. I eased myself in gradually this morning and then in the afternoon pushed a bit harder. My bike is quick but I need it to hold its line through corners a little better and then I can go even faster.
“It’s great to be back - there is nothing worse than missing races when you are itching to ride. I can’t wait to make more progress tomorrow.”
“I tested both my bikes and found that one was significantly better suited than the other to Silverstone’s fast flowing corners. The engine and power delivery are awesome and now we need to work on getting through the corners a bit quicker.
“We have found a tyre that is potentially a good option for the races on Sunday but it needs a bit more testing. Overall we are close to the front but hope to be a lot closer this time tomorrow after qualifying.”
Niall Mackenzie, Race Operations Manager:
“It’s great to welcome James back to the team and given how long he’s been off a bike, he is doing well. He’s approaching practice with controlled aggression and catching up with the riders in front of him. Hopefully he will be able to challenge for the second or third row in qualifying.
“Shane isn’t doing a lot wrong and looks tidy and fast. His only issue is with the first corner where potentially he is losing a lot of time. He is riding precisely when perhaps power sliding his GSX-R1000 through the first corner might be the fastest route. He should be competing for the front row tomorrow.”
Practice Times: 1: Jonathan Rea (Honda) 1:25.928, 2: Ryuichi Kiyonari (Honda) +0.098, 3: Leon Haslam (Ducati) +0.254, 4: Tommy Hill (Yamaha) +0.302, 5: Karl Harris (Honda) +0.666, 6: SHANE BYRNE (RIZLA SUZUKI) +0.692, 7: Gregorio Lavilla (Ducati) +0.895, 8: Michael Rutter (Honda) +0.915, 10: Billy McConnell (Yamaha) +1.473, 15: JAMES HAYDON (RIZLA SUZUKI) +1.795.