There was no doubt as to who the happiest team was on Saturday at Brands Hatch, as Swan Yamaha led the way after the first official running of the 2011 British Superbike Championship.
Tommy Hill put in a late flyer to top the timesheets, lapping the Indy circuit in 45.499 seconds, with teammate Michael Laverty just 0.008s behind in second.
Less than a tenth of a second covered the top four in Saturday's second practice session and a close qualifying session is in prospect. Hill is optimistic of his chances tomorrow and in Monday's two races.
“It has been a great day for us and we have been building up to it gradually over the three sessions so far this weekend. It has mainly been due to changes with the electronics and we have learnt so much already and we are able to keep moving forward. We made a few minor changes to the chassis, but it has mainly remained the same as it was when we tested in Spain. Our race pace is good as we have done some longer runs and we know we can run the times consistently so we are feeling happy ahead of qualifying.”
Laverty led his teammate in Saturday's first session before Hill shaded him in the second, but the Northern Irishman feels he is in good shape ahead of qualifying.
“It has been a good day for us and we have made some further steps forward with the electronics”, he explained. “They were just minor changes but it has made quite a bit of difference and then we were able to make small tweaks to the chassis this morning. This afternoon we did some longer race runs and we were running consistent times despite some traffic, so I am happy with our race pace ahead of qualifying.”
The three-part qualifying session takes place at 15:20 on Sunday afternoon, with the 2011 British Superbike Championship getting underway on Easter Monday.