With temperatures eclipsing 30 degrees Celsius and the humidity making it feel more like 35 degrees, the Brantford, Ont. veteran took his Waznie Racing / Parts Canada / BMW Motorrad Canada BMW S1000RR around the 1.93km (1.2-mile) circuit in 45.575 secs.
Mopar Pro Superbike points leader Andrew Nelson of Kars, Ont. was second fastest with a time of 45.879 secs. on the Nelson Racing / Endras Motorrad / mcn.tv BMW S1000RR and Alex Welsh had the third best time of 45.944 riding the AW7R / Kenwood Electronics Canada Suzuki GSX-R1000.
“It was hot out there,” said Szoke, who paced both the morning and afternoon practice sessions. “The heat makes it hard to carry speed through the corners. It’s not so bad at the back, but with the front moving around it’s tricky.
“It’s good. We have two bikes with two different set ups but they’re both doing about the same speeds. We’ll make some more changes. We’re behind on the electronics. This is our first year with the bike and we’re not as experienced with that stuff. But we made some changes in that [afternoon] session that made the bike better. We’re getting there. We’re not that far off.”
Szoke has the assistance of Ohlins rep Jon Cornwell this weekend.
“Anybody can do a fast lap here but to do a lot of them is a challenge. On our last stint we were able to put 24 laps on a tire. Jon’s got some nice stuff for us and that’s been key to our consistency.”
Coming off his first career national Superbike win at Shannonville Motorsport Park two weeks ago, Nelson turned in his fastest laps near the end of the afternoon’s 40-minute practice session.
“We figured a lot of stuff out today,” he said. “We just need to make a couple more changes to stabilize the bike. The big thing is getting the bike to accelerate, and I think the change to the fuel is maybe affecting us more than some people.”
This season the Mopar Canadian Superbike Championship has mandated use of unleaded pump fuel.
Welsh admitted it would be tough to find the necessary three tenths of a second to challenge for pole in Saturday’s Pirelli SuperPole qualifying session.
“That’s a lot of time on a short track like this,” said the Uxbridge, Ont. racer. “It’s like half a second on a longer track. We’re going in the right direction. We were working on making the bike rideable and tomorrow we’ll focus on speed for qualifying.”
A late surge by Jodi Christie brought the Keene, Ont. racer up to fourth with a time of 46.062 on the Jodi Christie Racing / Accelerated Technologies Honda CBR600RR. Next up was St-Cesaire, Que.’s Kevin Lacombe with a time of 46.138 riding his Team Couturier Racing BMW S1000RR.
Matt McBride of Mississauga, Ont. elected to make the haul to St-Eustache after his runner-up finish in the season opener. He was sixth in practice with a time of 46.550 on the Riders Choice BMW S1000RR.
Christie led the practice times for the K&N Performance Filters Pro Sport Bike class with a 46.535 on his Honda CBR600RR. Raphael Archambault of Terrebonne, Que. was next up at 46.667 on the Team Archambault Racing / Picotte Motorsports / G Suspension Suzuki GSX-R600. Opening round winner Frank Trombino set the third best time of 47.514 on the 725 Sports / Acme Slate Suzuki GSX-R600.
Trombino, the winner here last summer, turned his best lap in the morning session.
Absent on Friday was Aubrey Bailey, who finished a superb third in the Shannonville season opener.
Steve Crevier continues to rule the Deeley Harley-Davidson Canada XR1200 Cup, and the Maple Ridge, B.C. veteran led practice on Friday with a time of 50.204 secs. on his MotoSport Plus entry, close to the track record he set last year of 50.180.
Toronto’s Michael Taylor was second for the day at 50.808 on the Mackie Harley-Davidson XR1200 and Ruthless Racing’s John Ross MacRae of Calgary placed third at 51.076.
Opening round winner Philippe Masse led the Inside Motorcycles Amateur Sport Bike class at St-Eustache with a time of 49.000 secs. on the Racingphil.com / Pete’s Superbike Kawasaki ZX-6R.
In the Bazzaz Amateur Superbike class, Stephan Houle of Gatineau, Que. led practice with a time of 48.066 secs. aboard the 613 Motorsports / John Keay Ford Lincoln Suzuki GSX-R1000.
Thirteen-year-old Tomas Casas of Peterborough, Ont. was quickest in the Honda CBR250R National Race Series with a practice time of 59.215 secs.
Qualifying for all six classes will be held on Saturday, along with the first of two races for the Honda CBR250R competitors this weekend. Temperatures are expected to remain hot, although not quite as steamy as Friday’s conditions.