Byrne fires Brands Hatch warning

Shane Byrne began preparations to regain the MCE Insurance British Superbike crown with a scorching lap at Brands Hatch.

Byrne began preparations by scorching to a 45.785secs lap of the Brands Hatch Indy circuit in opening practice for Easter Monday's opening round.

The Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki rider, bidding to take the title for a record fourth time, headed off the challenge of Australian Josh Brookes, aboard the Milwaukee Yamaha, by 0.125secs. Scotland's Stuart Easton, returning to the top flight as Byrne's team-mate, was third fastest only a split second down.

Chris Walker, riding the GB Moto Kawasaki, ran just ahead of Japanese rider Ryuichi Kiyonari (Buildbase BMW) as he chases a fourth British crown, with American John Hopkins, returning to the series with Tyco Suzuki, sixth fastest but only half a second down on Byrne.