John Hopkins made the perfect return to British Superbikes with victory in race one at Donington Park as the Championship Showdown got off to a spectacular start. The Samsung Crescent Suzuki rider dislocated a finger on MotoGP duty at Brno, forcing him to miss the Cadwell Park round, but didn't seem to be affected at all.

The American took a cautious approach in the early stages while his title rivals slugged it out. Shane Byrne left his braking for Redgate the latest and grabbed the lead from Michael Laverty and Tommy Hill.

Laverty was looking particularly racy and dived past into McLean's while Hopkins pushed Hill down to fourth at the Fogarty Esses next time around, although the series leader responded four laps later. The top four looked to pull away but Peter Hickman was hanging on in fifth while Jon Kirkham led the other title contender, Ryuichi Kiyonari and Josh Brookes in the battle for sixth.

'Shakey' Byrne retook the lead at the Old Hairpin on lap three as the leaders settled into a rhythm in the 1m30s. Hickman and Kirkham were able to keep in touch but Kiyonari quickly fell away, holding Brookes behind him.

Byrne resisted the Swan Yamahas until lap 12 when Hill dived up the inside into Goddards. The move seemed a little optimistic and both riders were forced out wide, allowing Laverty and Hopkins through on the inside. Hopkins cut in front on the run down to Redgate but the aggressive Laverty scythed up the inside when they hit the brakes.

The squabbling amongst the title contenders brought Kirkham into play after the local rider had dispatched Hickman. The Tyco Honda now had Brookes to deal with but Kiyonari was nowhere to be seen with his Fireblade struck by a mechanical problem.

With four laps to go, Hill finally managed to make his move on Byrne stick but that would only secure him third as Laverty and Hopkins disputed the victory. The American slipped up the inside into the Fogarty Esses with a typically smooth pass and despite a challenge on the final lap, Laverty would have no answer.

Hill finished right on their tail in third while Byrne dropped back by three seconds to finish fourth. Kirkham was a strong fifth for Crescent Suzuki which forced Brookes to settle for sixth after winning his battle with Hickman.

Fresh from a podium in the World Supersport Championship at the Nurburgring, James Ellison took eighth ahead of Martin Jessopp on the sole Rapid Solicitors-Bathams Ducati and EVO class winner Graeme Gowland.


Race One Result (20 Laps):

Pos Rider Nat Bike (Class) Team Time/Gap
1 John Hopkins USA Suzuki Samsung Crescent Racing 30:17.023
2 Michael Laverty GBR Yamaha Swan Yamaha +0.480
3 Tommy Hill GBR Yamaha Swan Yamaha +0.781
4 Shane Byrne GBR Honda HM Plant Honda +3.920
5 Jon Kirkham GBR Suzuki Samsung Crescent Racing +6.345
6 Josh Brookes AUS Suzuki Relentless Suzuki by TAS +10.281
7 Peter Hickman GBR Honda Tyco Honda +13.141
8 James Ellison GBR Honda Team +18.578
9 Martin Jessopp GBR Ducati Rapid Solicitors-Bathams Ducati +22.154
10 Graeme Gowland GBR Honda (E) Team WFR +22.543
11 James Westmoreland GBR Honda (E) Team WFR +33.290
12 Ian Lowry GBR Kawasaki MSS Colchester Kawasaki +33.494
13 Glen Richards AUS Honda (E) Team WFR +34.433
14 Tommy Bridewell GBR Yamaha Motorpoint Yamaha +41.615
15 Barry Burrell GBR BMW (E) Buildbase BMW Motorrad +43.062
16 Alex Lowes GBR Yamaha Motorpoint Yamaha +45.933
17 Gary Mason GBR Kawasaki (N) MSS Colchester Kawasaki +51.752
18 Patric Muff SWI Honda (E) Tyco Honda +1:01.323
19 Hudson Kennaugh RSA Kawasaki (E) PR Racing +1:12.358
20 James Hillier GBR Kawasaki (E) Bournemouth Kawasaki Racing +1:17.177
21 Lee Jackson GBR BMW Buildbase BMW Motorrad +1:17.338
22 Craig Fitzpatrick GBR Honda (E) Paceday Z / Close Print Finance +1:17.758
23 Aaron Zanotti GBR BMW (E) Quattro Plant Spike Racing +1:29.257
24 David Anthony AUS BMW (E) Doodson Motorsport +2 Laps
Not Classified
Chris Walker GBR Kawasaki Pr1mo Racing +2 Laps
Steve Brogan GBR Honda Jentin Racing Honda +7 Laps
Ryuichi Kiyonari JAP Honda HM Plant Honda +7 Laps
Dan Kneen GBR Kawasaki (E) Marks Bloom Racing +10 Laps
Nick Medd GBR BMW Boss (D&B) Racing +15 Laps
Scott Smart GBR Ducati (E) Moto Rapido Ducati +16 Laps
Karl Harris GBR Aprilia Splitlath Motorsport +19 Laps


(E) – Evo Class

(N) – 2012 Spec

Lap Leaders: M.Laverty (1-2, 12-16), Byrne (3-11), Hopkins (17-20)