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Laverty wins from Brookes as Hill just misses podium

Saturday, October 08 2011

Swan Yamaha celebrated the opening MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship race win of the weekend at Brands Hatch as Michael Laverty fended off the pressure from pole sitter Josh Brookes to take his third win of the season. The final podium position was secured by John Hopkins following a battle with title rival Tommy Hill. 

Laverty said: "I got the start I needed and tried to get my head down. I edged maybe a second and then I saw the gap disappearing on my board and knew someone was catching me. I watched the lap timer and just tried to stay smooth and consistent. I rode a good race and it was nice to pull off the win. I knew Josh was close so I didn't leave him any room and we were so close. It is going to make it interesting for tomorrow as we are all going for it." 

On the opening lap Laverty got the holeshot off the line from pole sitter Brookes as Hill dropped to sixth on the Swan Yamaha after he went wide at Surtees, whilst Michael Rutter barged his way to fourth on the Rapid Solicitors-Bathams Ducati behind Hopkins before the first lap was completed.

Laverty continued to lead Brookes, but Shane 'Shakey' Byrne was hard-charging on the HM Plant Honda and he had carved his way up to eighth by the end of the fourth lap as he closed in on Jon Kirkham as the pair swapped place several times for seventh. Byrne then had Rutter in his sights as he put his qualifying crash behind him to move up to sixth on the twelfth lap.

At the front Brookes was putting the pressure on Laverty who held the lead and the battle for third was just as intense as Hill clawed back the gap that Hopkins had over the opening lap as the Swan Yamaha rider began to shadow his main title rival. Hill waited until the penultimate lap as he dived for the inside line into Paddock Hill Bend to take third, but just a few corners later Hopkins regained the position with a move into Surtees.

On the final lap Hopkins and Hill went head to head for the final podium position and a last lap move by Hill on the brakes into Clearways gave him the advantage but his Samsung Crescent Racing Suzuki rival cut back and he narrowly beat him across the line. The American now holds an eleven point lead over Hill ahead of the two races tomorrow as his Swan Yamaha team-mate moved ahead of Brookes to take third in the overall standings.

James Ellison had his strongest race of the season for the Sorrymate.com Honda team as he joined the battle with Hopkins and Hill but ended the race fifth ahead of Byrne who fought back to sixth. Rutter and Kirkham maintained seventh and eighth respectively with Graeme Gowland again in the top ten and the victor in the Mirror.co.uk BSB Evo race as Martin Jessopp completed the top ten.

MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship, Brands Hatch, race one result:

  1. Michael Laverty (Swan Yamaha)
  2. Josh Brookes (Relentless Suzuki by TAS) +0.396s
  3. John Hopkins (Samsung Crescent Racing Suzuki) +8.766s
  4. Tommy Hill (Swan Yamaha) +8.873s
  5. James Ellison (Sorrymate.com Honda) +9.007s
  6. Shane Byrne (HM Plant Honda) +11.681s
  7. Michael Rutter (Rapid Solicitors-Bathams Ducati) +13.752s
  8. Jon Kirkham (Samsung Crescent Racing Suzuki) +13.923s
  9. Graeme Gowland (WFR Honda) +18.452s
  10. Martin Jessopp (Rapid Solicitors-Bathams Ducati) +24.763s

MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship standings after race one at Brands Hatch:

  1. John Hopkins (Samsung Crescent Racing Suzuki) 625
  2. Tommy Hill (Swan Yamaha) 614
  3. Michael Laverty (Swan Yamaha) 590
  4. Josh Brookes (Relentless Suzuki by TAS) 588
  5. Shane Byrne (HM Plant Honda) 575
  6. Ryuichi Kiyonari (HM Plant Honda) 521

The Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit hosts the title-deciding final round of the Showdown for the 2011 MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship this weekend (7-9 October).

Tickets are available on the gate for £30 on Sunday, with children 12 and under free.  For more information and ticket details please visit www.brandshatch.co.uk or call 0843 453 9000.