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Brookes back on top as Lowes moves ahead of Byrne

Saturday, October 19 2013

Tyco Suzuki's Josh Brookes claimed his first MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship victory since Oulton Park with a commanding performance in the opening race of the triple-header Brands Hatch decider although Alex Lowes closed his advantage in the tense final laps.

Brookes had stormed into the lead with a move at Druids on the opening lap as he passed Shane 'Shakey' Byrne who had initially hit the front of the pack. Lowes was running fifth on the opening lap and he soon started to carve his way up the order as he bid to close on his title rivals. Brookes held the advantage from Byrne, Josh Waters and Lee Costello, but Lowes was up to third by the fourth lap as he made a move on both of the Halsall Racing Kawasakis who were charging in the damp conditions.

Brookes set a commanding pace over the opening laps to edge out a four second lead over Byrne and Lowes at the halfway point of the race as the track continued to dry. Lowes had closed in on his Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki rival and on lap 14 the pair crossed the start line side-by-side and Lowes bid to make a move into Paddock Hill Bend. The Samsung Honda rider finally made a move stick at Surtees and dramatically upped his pace over the closing laps in a bid to reel in Brookes. The tense final laps of the Grand Prix circuit saw Lowes pushing hard to catch the Tyco Suzuki ahead of him and the gap closed to just 0.968 seconds at the chequered flag. Byrne held third as he now trails Lowes by three points ahead of tomorrow's two races.

Brookes said: "I felt better at the start of the race when it was wetter, I felt comfortable and found a rhythm and could ride fast. As soon as it started to dry I was thinking of sticking to the dry lines and try and make the best of that without overheating the tyre. Then I went for wet patches and my gap seemed to grow so I felt comfortable. Then with two laps to go I saw Alex was behind me and then I saw from my board that the gap had come down to a second on the final lap, where it had been three so I quickly had to figure out how quick I could go so that he wouldn't be in a position to overtake me. I am proud of the Tyco Suzuki team today and hopefully we can have another good day tomorrow." 

Waters held a lonely fourth place as he scored his best result of the season for the Halsall Racing Kawasaki team as PJ Jacobsen rounded out the top five. Tommy Bridewell put in another fighting performance to finish sixth as he passed Chris Walker on the Quattro Plant Bournemouth Kawasaki and James Westmoreland on the leading Buildbase BMW. Lee Costello claimed his first top ten finish in MCE BSB with ninth place for the Halsall Racing Kawasaki team and Michael Rutter completed the top ten. There was more disappointment for James Ellison as he was forced to retire from the race with a visor issue. 

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

  1. Josh Brookes (Tyco Suzuki)
  2. Alex Lowes (Samsung Honda) +0.968s
  3. Shane Byrne (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki) +5.709s
  4. Josh Waters (Halsall Racing Kawasaki) +16.821s
  5. PJ Jacobsen (Tyco Suzuki) +22.890s
  6. Tommy Bridewell (Milwaukee Yamaha) +24.345s
  7. Chris Walker (Quattro Plant Bournemouth Kawasaki) +25.538s
  8. James Westmoreland (Buildbase BMW) +27.731s
  9. Lee Costello (Halsall Racing Kawasaki) +29.917s
  10. Michael Rutter (Bathams Honda) +30.394s

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

  1. Alex Lowes (Samsung Honda) 623
  2. Shane Byrne (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki) 620
  3. Josh Brookes (Tyco Suzuki) 571
  4. James Ellison (Milwaukee Yamaha) 562
  5. James Westmoreland (Buildbase BMW) 542
  6. Ryuichi Kiyonari (Samsung Honda) 522