John Hopkins and Ryuichi Kiyonari shared the race victories on a dramatic day's racing at the new Snetterton 300 circuit, full of incidents and accidents.
The battle for victory in race one was a straight fight between Hopkins and Tommy Hill. The American led away from pole position but the Swan Yamaha man took advantage of a mistake from Hopkins at Oggies on the first green-flag lap following a safety car period.
Hopkins shadowed his rival until the final lap before diving up the inside into Riches. Hill fought back into the Montreal hairpin but left the door open on the exit, allowing 'Hopper' to take his second BSB victory by 0.274s with Shane 'Shakey' Byrne claiming the final podium position. Michael Laverty came through from 12th on the grid to finish fourth while Ryuichi Kiyonari beat Jon Kirkham to fifth, grabbing pole for race two in the process.
Hopkins started alongside the reigning champion in second a quickly took the lead at the first corner. Kiyonari looked to repass the Crescent Suzuki into Montreal and this caught out Hill, who ran into the back of the HM Plant Honda and dropped out of the race.
Any hopes Hopkins had of disappearing at the front ended on lap eight when the race was brought to a halt by the red flags. Alex Lowes' MSS Colchester Kawasaki suffered a mechanical failure, spilling oil on the track and it caught out Simon Andrews and Steve Brogan coming into Riches.
Both riders were sent careering into the run-off area with the two bikes spiralling high into the air upon making contact with the tyre barrier. Thankfully, both riders escaped any serious injuries with Andrews suffering a broken leg and Andrews damaging his shoulder.
When the race resumed, Hopkins set his sights on a double victory but Byrne had other ideas and pulled off a stunning move at Coram on the penultimate lap. Desperate not to lose points to his championship rival, Hopkins responded at Oggies on the final lap but only succeeded in running them both off the road.
Third-placed Kiyonari was the grateful recipient as he cruised past to take his second win of the season with Josh Brookes following him home in second. Hopkins still managed to salvage third with Byrne a frustrated fourth ahead of Michael Laverty and Martin Jessopp.
Despite losing out on a potential win, Byrne still leads the standings by 19 points and is all but guaranteed a place in the end-of-season showdown, as is Hopkins in second place. Tommy Hill remains third while Kiyonari has moved above Michael Laverty into fourth. Josh Brookes is the big winner though. Having started the weekend in 12th, the Australian has leaped into the top six following his first podium of the year.
Riders Championship (After Round 6: Snetterton 300)
|1||Shane Byrne||Honda||HM Plant Honda||3||201|
|2||John Hopkins||Suzuki||Samsung Crescent Racing||2||182|
|3||Tommy Hill||Yamaha||Swan Yamaha||3||140|
|4||Ryuichi Kiyonari||Honda||HM Plant Honda||2||120|
|5||Michael Laverty||Yamaha||Swan Yamaha||1||119|
|6||Josh Brookes||Suzuki||Relentless Suzuki by TAS||91|
|(Top Six After Round 9 Qualify for Championship Showdown)|
|7||Stuart Easton||Kawasaki||MSS Colchester Kawasaki||89|
|8||Peter Hickman||Honda||Tyco Honda||85|
|9||Jon Kirkham||Suzuki||Samsung Crescent Racing||1||84|
|10||Gary Mason||Kawasaki||MSS Colchester Kawasaki||79|
|11||Loris Baz||Yamaha||Motorpoint Yamaha||79|
|12||Michael Rutter||Ducati||Rapid Solicitors-Bathams Ducati||72|
|13||Chris Walker||Kawasaki||Pr1mo Racing||62|
|14||Dan Linfoot||Honda||Team Sorrymate.com||49|
|15||Martin Jessopp||Ducati||Rapid Solicitors-Bathams Ducati||41|
|16||Alex Lowes||Kawasaki||MSS Colchester Kawasaki||39|
|17||James Westmoreland||Yamaha||Motorpoint Yamaha||39|
|18||Tommy Bridewell||Honda||Tyco Honda||33|
|19||Glen Richards (E)||Honda||Team WFR||23|
|20||Ian Lowry||BMW||Buildbase BMW Motorrad||9|
|21||Steve Brogan||Honda||Jentin Racing Honda||8|
|22||Simon Andrews (E)||Kawasaki||Buy-Force.com PR Racing Kawasaki||8|
|23||John Laverty||BMW||Buildbase BMW Motorrad||6|
|24||Jake Zemke (E)||Honda||Team WFR||6|
|25||Hudson Kennaugh (E)||Aprilia||Splitlath Motorsport||5|
|26||Barry Burrell (E)||BMW||Buildbase BMW Motorrad||5|
|27||Scott Smart (E)||Ducati||Moto Rapido Ducati||2|
|28||Patric Muff (E)||Honda||Tyco Honda||2|
|29||Tom Tunstall (E)||BMW||Doodson Motorsport||1|
|30||Graeme Gowland (E)||Honda||Team WFR||1|