The pace at the front of the Bridgestone Canadian Superbike Championship ramped up dramatically on Saturday, as Alex Dumas crushed FP2 to kick off a crucial day in the feature GP Bikes Pro Superbike class at Shannonville Motorsport Park.
After crashing out of race one and Friday and watching his championship hopes take a massive blow in the process, Dumas responded in exactly the way he needed to on Saturday morning, going 0.729 seconds quicker than rival and new title leader Ben Young.
Dumas led for majority of the session but with varying times, trimming nearly a full-second off his pace in the second half as the rest of the field worked hard to match the Purple Skull Brewing/Liqui Moly Suzuki rider.
A group of seven briefly sat all within a second of the leader, but Dumas’ late time attack of 1:44.603 proved to be the difference as Young would have to settle for second-quickest in FP2.
The Van Dolder’s Home Team will just be trying to avoid any drama on the penultimate day of the season, taking over a 23-point title lead which will allow him to finish as low as third in each remaining race and still bring home a second consecutive title.
If Dumas gets the chaos he’s hoping for, it may come at the hands of 14-time champion Jordan Szoke, who briefly pressured Young on Friday en route to finishing second and was third-quickest on the morning.
The Canadian Kawasaki rider will be hoping a more conservative approach for Young can eliminate one potential challenger, leaving him and Dumas to potentially duke it out at the front as he went a half-second slower than the championship leader in third.
He will surely face more resistance from his former teammate, however, as Trevor Dion continued to find more speed aboard his Economy Lube and Tire/LDS Consultants Ducati.
Dion entered the top-three in the late going before getting displaced by Szoke, but the rookie still managed to improve his pace behind a best time of 1:46.385.
Completing the top-five in the morning was Trevor Daley, who continues to put on a heroic showing despite still recovering from a broken femur.
The OneSpeed Suzuki rider fought into fourth late in the session and the eventually slotted back to fifth, only marginally slower than the Ducati of Dion ahead of him.
Notably absent was Sam Guerin in sixth, who ran second to Dumas in the early stages of the session before dropping down the order in the second half of FP2.
The EFC Group BMW rider will still start from the front row on Saturday and be looking to join the fight with Szoke and Dumas at the front, though he won’t want to do so at the expense of Young who needs a podium finish to keep his title hopes in good shape.
The full results from the morning practice can be found on the series’ official website at CSBK.ca.