Rory Skinner held off his Bennetts British Superbike Championship rivals on the opening day of the R&G Official Test at Silverstone, setting the benchmark time for FS-3 Racing Kawasaki as defending champion Tarran Mackenzie crashed out of the action.
The top 22 riders were covered by an incredible 0.949s at the end of the day and Skinner upped the pace in the final session to remain ahead. Bradley Ray was closing the gap to his Scottish rival as he continues to make strong progress since the Rich Energy OMG Racing Yamaha team changed manufacturer over the winter.
Skinner said: “We have had a mega day and to be straight back on the pace was good. Conditions have been a bit varied today, there was rain in the afternoon and the wind has also been high all day, so that has made pushing on a bit difficult, but we were able to string together some longer runs.
“Towards the end we put together a couple of fast laps and I am really happy with the how the day went and the team have been really great. FS-3 Racing have given me a great bike for the test and I am looking forward to tomorrow.”
Ray was within 0.069s of Skinner as the last session of the day approached the final five minutes, but a high-speed crash for Mackenzie brought out the red flag. The McAMS Yamaha rider sustained a suspected left ankle fracture and was transferred to hospital for further checks.
Dan Linfoot had a positive start to the two-day test with the iForce BMW team, posting the third fastest time, but by only 0.001s ahead of Tommy Bridewell on the Oxford Products Racing Ducati with Kyle Ryde completing the top five.
Josh Owens had an impressive opening day to finish sixth overall for the Rapid CDH Racing Kawasaki team, edging out Danny Buchan and Leon Haslam who completed the top eight contenders.
Ryan Vickers had a crash in the final session but ended the day ninth for FHO Racing BMW with Josh Brookes rounding out the top ten for MCE Ducati. His teammate Tom Sykes also had a crash in the final session, ending the day in 18th.
Bennetts British Superbike Championship, Silverstone, Official Test, Day 1 combined times: