Swan Yamaha riders Tommy Hill and Noriyuki Haga certainly made contrasting starts to the BSB meeting at Oulton Park. The reigning champion was in top form early on, topping the opening practice session before tumbling to sixth in the second session and with qualifying and the first of three races scheduled for Saturday, he knows he must be at his best tomorrow.
“It wasn't a bad day; obviously the first session was better than the second as we were fastest in that one, but it is only free practice and I am fairly happy with how we ended the day. It did look like it might brighten up but hopefully that is coming tomorrow! I have been working on the feeling of the front brake as I need to be able to feel more comfortable to push a bit harder. At the sharp end every little bit makes a difference and tomorrow we need to be ready for qualifying and the first race.”
Haga faces a critical weekend for his title hopes as he looks to overturn the 12 point deficit to the top six in the race for the showdown. The Japanese rider had a minor excursion in the wet and chose to take it easy afterwards, leaving him eleventh overall.
“This track I know from earlier in the season so already I have more experience than before, even though the conditions were very wet today. We can start with what we know from May and we know where we need to improve. In the second session I ran onto the grass and after that I was not pushing too hard as I didn't want to make another stupid mistake because it is only free practice! We will find a way tomorrow as we have some ideas on what we need to improve; we have three races this weekend and we need to get three good results for the championship.”