Alex Lowes won his fifth race in succession to strike the opening blow in the British Superbike Championship Showdown at Assen. The Samsung Honda rider defeated Shane Byrne in a thrilling final lap tussle to close to within a point of the overall series lead but the other title contenders had a difficult time.
Despite starting from the second row, James Ellison stormed into an early lead with a superb move around the outside of Lowes at Mandeveen but sadly for Milwaukee Yamaha, the chance of victory was cruelled snatched away by a loss of oil pressure on lap twelve, reducing the leading group to two.
Lowes and Byrne had already shared some feisty moments on track in the early stages as they jockeyed for position behind Ellison but with 25 points at stake, neither was giving an inch as the race approached its climax. Lowes hit the front for the first time with a dive up the inside of Ramshoek on the penultimate lap but Byrne responded into Stekkenwal to nudge back ahead. The Kawasaki only led as far as the next turn as Lowes dived through at De Bult but Byrne once again had an answer, edging back in front at Mandeveen.
As is so often the case at Assen, the race would go right down to the wire with Lowes repeating his move from a lap earlier at Ramshoek and although he defended into the chicane, Alex still needed every bit of horsepower from his CBR1000RR to hold off the fast closing Byrne on the run to the line. Tommy Bridewell salvaged a podium for Milwaukee Yamaha with third place after a fierce battle with Noriyuki Haga early on while Josh Brookes took fourth ahead of the Japanese rider, Jakub Smrz and PJ Jacobsen.
James Westmoreland’s title hopes took a blow with eighth place but along with Ellison, the big loser in the championship battle was Ryuichi Kiyonari who toiled his way to fourteenth.
|2013 MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship – 6 Races To Go|
|1||Shane Byrne||559||2||Alex Lowes||558||3||Josh Brookes||535|
|4||James Ellison||513||5||J.Westmoreland||508||6||Ryuichi Kiyonari||506|
|(Photo Credit: Jon Jessop, Honda, Tyco Suzuki, Motorsport Vision, Buildbase BMW)|