HM Plant Honda have a busy weekend ahead of them as they look to improve the pace of the Fireblade machine around Oulton Park.
Ryuichi Kiyonari and Shane 'Shakey' Byrne were eight and ninth respectively as the team experimented with different set-ups.
Kiyonari admitted that the team were struggling for pace, but the reigning BSB champion refused to rule out a pole position challenge.
“Today we need to find some more speed, because we want to be faster for qualifying”, he added. “We looked at the data from last season and then we tried a lot of new changes but we still have lots to work through that we want to test before the race. We have a small problem that we need to fix with the setting but once we have I think we will be much faster than last year and I will also push harder as I want to be on pole position.”
Byrne enters this weekend four points behind championship leader Tommy Hill and was 1.493s slower than the Swan Yamaha rider on Saturday. But 'Shakey' remains optimistic about his prospects for the weekend.
“This morning we just ran on old tyres as we were working through a lot of changes and if you use older tyres it will exaggerate any problems there might be, which means you can solve them a lot faster and it has been a useful exercise. We weren't a million miles away but this afternoon we have not been able to move up a level yet. The HM Plant Honda team know what they are doing and Chris (Pike), my crew chief, has a plan for the morning so that we can get it sorted in the final free practice session.”
“We know how good the Fireblade can be on track, we saw that last weekend at Brands Hatch”, he added, “so we just need to find that extra bit tomorrow before qualifying and then we will be good to go.”
Team Manager Havier Beltran added that tomorrow's third free practice session will be crucial if the team are to challenge the Yamahas in qualifying.
“It was a tough start to the weekend here at Oulton Park and Kiyo and Shakey still have a lot they want to try and test in free practice three tomorrow, ahead of qualifying. It was also unfortunate for Kiyo to have a technical problem towards the end of the session. We still have a lot to work through but we are moving forward all the time and our aim is for a good qualifying session tomorrow so we are in a good position for Monday's race.”