Byrne edges Lowes at Brands
Defending champion Shane Byrne showed he means business at the final round of the British Superbike Championship at Brands Hatch.
The Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki rider, who leads the title race by one point from the Samsung Honda of Lowes, was quickest around the Kent circuit with a lap of one minute 25.959 seconds to edge his rival.
With the first race on Saturday followed by two more on Sunday neither Byrne, who is aiming for a record fourth British title, nor Lowes can afford any slip-ups.
Byrne, still suffering pain from the pelvic injury sustained when he crashed during the previous round at Silverstone, said: "I know that we can improve the bike further as well as myself."
Byrne is trying not to push himself too hard as he has needed physiotherapy just to be able to ride at Brands Hatch.
"I am riding in the protection zone at the moment but I know that I can push on a bit harder when I have to," he added.
Lowes has had his team working hard to find a set-up on his Honda which will allow him to beat Byrne.
Lowes said: "I am feeling pretty good and ready. We have used a totally different set-up compared to the previous time we raced here and it is good to be right up there with still more to come."