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First blood to Lowes after epic opening Showdown race at Assen

Sunday, September 22 2013

The fight for the MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship kicked off in epic style in the first race of the weekend from Assen in a dramatic battle for supremacy between Alex Lowes and title rival Shane 'Shakey' Byrne as the tussle for the win went down to the wire.

Lowes had hit the front of the pack on the opening lap as Byrne and James Ellison all pushed for the front spot and before the half-way point of the lap the Milwaukee Yamaha rider had claimed the lead from Lowes, Byrne and Josh Brookes. A lap later and the leading contenders were not giving an inch in their quest for the first points haul of the Showdown with Byrne and Lowes swapping positions five times in three corners with the defending champion taking the initial advantage.

The fourth lap saw Lowes back ahead of Byrne and the Samsung Honda rider was holding off the opposition until a few laps later when the Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki contender pulled off another move on the final corner as they pack ended the seventh lap.

Ellison held the position at the front but Byrne and Lowes were in close contention as the lead trio diced for the opening podium places of the Showdown, but there was heartbreak for Ellison when a technical problem on the twelfth lap forced him out of the race. The fight for the win then became a full on scrap between Byrne and Lowes and on the penultimate lap the Samsung Honda rider moved ahead into the final corner, setting the stage for a dramatic conclusion with the leading title contenders swapping places six times on the final lap but Lowes just had the edge. Lowes scored his fifth consecutive win ahead of Byrne as he now trails the triple champion by a single point in the standings.

Tommy Bridewell on the second of the Milwaukee Yamahas claimed the final podium position on his debut with the team after the disappointing exit of his team-mate Ellison. Bridewell had fought his way up the order having had a close race with Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki's Noriyuki Haga and then Tyco Suzuki's Josh Brookes. Bridewell had edged out a gap leaving Haga and Brookes scrapping with the Australian getting ahead mid-race for Tyco Suzuki.

Haga had then dropped into the clutches of Jakub Smrz and over the final laps there was nothing between the pair as PJ Jacobsen also closed to fight all the way to the finish line at the very end of the race after his 18th place qualifying position. Smrz claimed Padgetts Honda their first top six of the season from Jacobsen in seventh and James Westmoreland in eighth who moved ahead of Ryuichi Kiyonari in the standings. Jon Kirkham and Barry Burrell completed the top ten with Kiyonari in 14th position. 

MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship, Assen, race one:

  1. Alex Lowes (Samsung Honda)
  2. Shane Byrne (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki) +0.102s
  3. Tommy Bridewell (Milwaukee Yamaha) +7.934s
  4. Josh Brookes (Tyco Suzuki) +11.648s
  5. Noriyuki Haga (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki) +18.893s
  6. Jakub Smrz (Padgetts Honda) +19.125s
  7. PJ Jacobsen (Tyco Suzuki) +19.216s
  8. James Westmoreland (Buildbase BMW) +22.968s
  9. Jon Kirkham (Buildbase BMW) +23.087s
  10. Barry Burrell (Quattro Plant Bournemouth Kawasaki) +29.579s

MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship standings after Assen race one:

  1. Shane Byrne (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki) 559
  2. Alex Lowes (Samsung Honda) 558
  3. Josh Brookes (Tyco Suzuki) 535
  4. James Ellison (Milwaukee Yamaha) 513
  5. James Westmoreland (Buildbase BMW) 508
  6. Ryuichi Kiyonari (Samsung Honda) 506