Alastair Seeley maintained his red-hot run of form as the Mar-Train Racing Yamaha rider clocked the fastest lap during free practice at Thruxton on Friday.
The Ulster rider has slashed Smiths Triumph title contender Billy McConnell’s championship lead to 10 points following a brilliant double at the previous round at Brands Hatch.
Seeley set the best lap of 1m 17.455s to head Graeme Gowland (Smiths Triumph) by 0.142s with McConnell third quickest, 0.212s down on the Carrick rider.
Gearlink Kawasaki’s Glenn Irwin - who is set to make his debut at the Metzeler Ulster Grand Prix on August 16 - was 10th.
The British Supersport Sprint race takes place over 12 laps on Saturday with a 4.45pm start time.
In the MCE British Superbike class, Milwaukee Yamaha’s Tommy Bridewell led the way by 0.039s from series lead Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne on the Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki.
Veteran racer Michael Rutter was a surprise third fastest on the Bathams BMW followed by Czech rider Jakub Smrz on the Millsport Ducati. Japan’s Ryuichi Kiyonari completed the top six on the Buildbase BMW.
Northern Ireland’s Keith Farmer, who finished on the podium in the wet at Brands Hatch, was 19th on the PR Kawasaki.
Jordanstown’s Andy Reid - fresh from penning a new two-year deal with Shaun Muir Racing - was second fastest in the National Superstock 600 class on the FFX Yamaha behind Kyle Ryde.
Reid is aiming to return to the rostrum this weekend after finishing fifth last time out at Brands and holds a lead of 24 points over Ryde in the points table.
“I am looking forward to Thruxton as it is one of those tracks where you can really go for it,” Reid said.
“The results at Brands Hatch have made me even more motivated to get back out and try and win again.”