Jason O’Halloran held off his Bennetts British Superbike Championship rivals to top the opening R&G Official Test of the 2022 season. The McAMS Yamaha rider continued to build momentum at Snetterton, setting a pace 0.004s faster than his best time yesterday to maintain the leading position on the timesheets, narrowly ahead of returning star Tom Sykes on the final day.
The opening action of the new season began with an intense pace at the top as the leading six riders ended the test inside the existing lap record. O’Halloran’s benchmark lap from the final session was an impressive 0.572s under the existing record, with five manufacturers featuring inside the top ten.
O’Halloran said: “First test of the year done and it’s been a really good few days for us, the weather has been perfect so we’ve had loads of track time. I’ve tried so many different versions of the bike here, at least one maybe two per session which is perfect for information and data.
“To go fast at the end is good, I made quite a big mistake on the fast lap too, but more importantly testing is to gain information and feeling and I am very happy with what we have achieved. The whole team have done a great job and I’m looking forward to the next test.”
Sykes rapidly adapted to the MCE Ducati on his first visit to the Snetterton 300 layout, as the former World Superbike Champion ended his debut test with the team just 0.072s adrift of the leading time.
Bradley Ray saved his best until the final session of the three-day test as he continues his preparations for the new season after a change in manufacturer and he fired the Rich Energy OMG Racing Yamaha into third place.
Double champion Josh Brookes was back at the sharp end, holding fourth place as he lapped under the circuit record on his return to the circuit and just 0.115s adrift on the timesheets. The MCE Ducati team opted to sit out the final session of the weekend with both riders inside the top four, as they bid for a ninth Championship title.
FS-3 Racing Kawasaki’s Rory Skinner had topped the penultimate session of the weekend as he set his personal best lap at the Norfolk circuit. The Scot couldn’t quite better his time in the final run of the day, but completed the top five ahead of next week’s R&G Official Test at Donington Park.
Danny Buchan was sixth fastest for the SYNETIQ BMW team; he had been the pace-setter during the early stages of the Official Test, with his best lap coming from the opening day of action.
Defending Champion Tarran Mackenzie was back in action running the number one plate for the first time in 2022, and on his return from a pre-season training injury. He set the seventh fastest time, just 0.013s adrift of the existing lap record for McAMS Yamaha.
Peter Hickman was the leading FHO Racing BMW rider in eighth place as he held off Buildbase Suzuki’s Danny Kent. Tommy Bridewell completed the top ten for the Oxford Products Racing Ducati team.
As the times began to tumble just 0.995s covered the top 15 riders with Andrew Irwin, Lee Jackson and Kyle Ryde just edged outside the top ten. 2018 Champion Leon Haslam ended the test 17th fastest as he continued to work with his new VisionTrack Kawasaki team.
Bennetts British Superbike Championship, R&G Official Test, Snetterton, combined session result:
1. Eazi-Grip supported Jason O’Halloran (McAMS Yamaha) 1m:46.571s
2. Eazi-Grip supported Tom Sykes (MCE Ducati) +0.072s
3. Bradley Ray (Rich Energy OMG Racing Yamaha) +0.098s
4. Eazi-Grip supported Josh Brookes (MCE Ducati) +0.115s
5. Eazi-Grip supported Rory Skinner (FS-3 Racing Kawasaki) +0.164s
6. Eazi-Grip supported Danny Buchan (SYNETIQ BMW) +0.540s
7. Eazi-Grip supported Tarran Mackenzie (McAMS Yamaha) +0.585s
8. Peter Hickman (FHO Racing BMW) +0.743s
9. Eazi-Grip supported Danny Kent (Buildbase Suzuki) +0.746s
10. Eazi-Grip supported Tommy Bridewell (Oxford Products Racing Ducati) +0.821s