Scott Redding delighted the home supporters with a commanding performance in first performance in first practice for the Moto2 British Grand Prix.
The Briton, riding for the Marc VDS Team, was fastest throughout and put in a stunning lap in the dying seconds to pull out a lead of 0.591s over championship leader Stefan Bradl.
Bradl has been the man to beat so far this season with three wins out of five and a 100% pole position record but he had no answer to Redding's pace on Friday morning.
Yonny Hernandez was a surprise third for Blusens–STX after producing his quickest lap at the very end of the session; this moved him above Simone Corsi who was fourth. The Italian is the closest challenger to Bradl in the championship, 43 points adrift and will be hoping to lead the chasing pack this weekend.
He was followed in FP1 by three Moto2 rookies with Randy Krummenacher taking an impressive fifth on the same Kalex machine that has served Bradl so well this year. Marc Marquez and Bradley Smith have both impressed in their debut campaigns in the intermediate class and they both look like contenders for the podium here, just as they were at Barcelona last weekend.
The top seven were covered by just under a second with Alex de Angelis over a second and a half back in eighth. Jules Cluzel made a late move to climb into the top ten which was completed by Belgian youngster Xavier Simeon, who had his most promising practice session of the season so far.
Besides Bradl, Corsi and Marquez, the other championship contenders were considerably off the pace. Yuki Takahashi was over two seconds down in 13th while Thomas Luthi was even slower in 21st with Andrea Iannone in 24th. Kev Coghlan completes the British trio and he found himself ahead of some of those big names after finishing an impressive 19th.
Meanwhile, Julian Simon will not take part this weekend after his horrendous accident in last weekend's Catalunya Grand Prix. His place will be taken by Jordi Torres and the 23-year-old was 32nd, one place ahead of his teammate Javier Fores.