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May 6, 2012

Hill Wins British Superbike Race, Pole Position At Oulton Park

Tommy Hill (1) takes the victory in the British Superbike race that was postponed at Brands Hatch and run Sunday at Oulton Park.


Race One (Race of Brands Hatch) 8 laps
1: Tommy Hill (Swan Yamaha)
2: Noriyuki Haga (Swan Yamaha) +1.525s
3: Josh Brookes (Tyco Suzuki) +1.685s
4: Alastair Seeley (Tyco Suzuki) +4.320s
5: Tommy Bridewell (Swan Yamaha) +4.460s
6: Michael Laverty (Samsung Honda) +6.340s

Championship standings:
1: Tommy Hill (Swan Yamaha) 65
2: Josh Brookes (Tyco Suzuki) 63
3: Ian Lowry (Padgetts Honda) 49
4: Jon Kirkham (Samsung Honda) 43
5: Shane Byrne (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki) 43
6: Alastair Seeley (Tyco Suzuki) 34

Qualifying for Monday race one top six
1:Tommy Hill (Swan Yamaha) 1m:35.606s
2:Shane Byrne (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki) +0.506s
3:Josh Brookes (Tyco Suzuki) +0.548s
4:Noriyuki Haga (Swan Yamaha) +0.599s
5:Tommy Bridewell (Supersonic BMW) +0.770s
6:Alex Lowes (WFR Honda) +1.118s


MCE BSB champion Tommy Hill hailed his winning performance at Oulton Park as 'the best of his career' after beating his Swan Yamaha team-mate Noriyuiki Haga and Josh Brookes in the first race of the Bank Holiday weekend.

The race had seen Hill start on the fifth row of the grid but he powered in a performance full of fight and determination to carve through the pack and snatch his first victory of the season.

Hill enthused: "People talk about the last race of last season when I won the title as being the best but for me this one has to be one of the best. I went into it with an open mind as I knew that it would be tough because of my starting position but my bike was working well and I went for it. OK the race was stopped but on the re-start Nori pushed on hard but I wanted this one, I really did."

Hill had been running third, just adrift of Josh Brookes and Shane Byrne on the ninth lap when Jon Kirkham crashed heavily and at high-speed at Water Tower, he suffered concussion, with the race red-flagged.

On the restart, over eight laps, Brookes led the pack on the opening lap, but Haga forged ahead and looked set for a first MCE BSB victory but Hill had other ideas. The defending champion took the lead at Lakeside and went on to take his first win of the season. Haga scored his maiden podium in the championship whilst Brookes finished third, to give Hill a two point lead in the overall standings.

Hill is in a strong position to increase that lead as he starts the first of the two Bank Holiday Monday races at the Cheshire circuit from pole position, having out-qualified Shane Byrne, Brookes and Haga.

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More, from a press release issued by Swan Yamaha:


The Swan Yamaha team got the third round of the MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship at Oulton Park underway today with a winning performance from champion Tommy Hill as Noriyuki Haga scored a maiden podium finish in second.

Hill and Haga had a strong qualifying performance for tomorrow's second race with Hill taking pole position with Haga completing the front row in fourth.

In the postponed Brands Hatch race the pair started from the fifth row but a determined, gritty ride from both riders saw them inside the top five by the time the race was red flagged on the ninth lap. Haga took the lead on the second lap of the restarted race and held the position until Hill stole the advantage with two laps remaining. Hill now heads the overall standings by two points from Josh Brookes with Haga lying eighth following his second place.

Hill said: "I went into the race with an open mind as I knew it would be a big fight from the fifth row, even in two parts. The Swan Yamaha was working really well and I know everyone talks about last year's final race of the season, but for me that is one of the best races of my entire career - from 15th to the race win. Everyone wanted that win hard but I suppose I just wanted it the most. I am really happy, now I need to do the same in the two races tomorrow."

Haga said: "It is awesome for me and Swan Yamaha to be on the podium. I was enjoying the first part of the race as we had a good battle and I felt really positive, maybe if the race had not been stopped then it could have been different but I know that Tommy has done a lot more laps here than me! I think tomorrow we have a magic setting that might put us closer to Tommy Hill. I think today I can say 'welcome back to Nori!"

Team manager Gary Ekerold concluded: "After qualifying and both riders securing a front row start for tomorrow's race we knew we had the pace to run at the front. However with both riders on the fifth row we were not sure how easy it would be to get through the field. The safety car and the red flag perhaps helped our cause but to have both riders on the podium has rounded off a fantastic day for the team. Noriyuki has shown that he is a force to be reckoned with after today; he came back with a 'boom' and proved what we all know he is capable of. Tommy showed his true champion class and that is quite ominous for his opposition."

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More, from a press release issued by Splitlath Redmond:


SPLITLATH Redmond riders John Laverty and Florian Marino crossed the line 20th and 22nd in today's MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship race at Oulton Park.

In a shortened re-started race, both riders rode a solid eight laps to bring their Aprilia RSV4 machines home, collecting lots of data which will be useful for tomorrow's two races at the Cheshire track.

For Laverty, it was his first race at the circuit since he suffered horrific injuries in a crash last July, and the Irishman who is still fighting his way back to fitness was pleased with his progress. Having started from 25th on the grid, he made up two places in the first lap and then worked his way up further to cross the line 20th.

"It's good to get that first race here under my belt, and now I think we can all just move on from it," he said. "It was a hard race, I am still getting tired and have a fair way to go yet before I'm fully fit but I have to take the positives.

"We started 25th and moved up five places. I made some good moves on a couple of guys out there and I'm happy with what we've learned about the bike here today. It means we can make more changes so we can hopefully finish higher up the order tomorrow."

For Marino, it was a tougher race than he had planned after he was forced to start from the back of the grid. Having been running in 25th spot when the race was initially stopped, he dived into the garage to make some set-up changes. As a result he was late getting out and had to start the warm-up lap from pit lane, and then start the race from last place.

"I have to take a 22nd and be happy with it because I started right at the back and had a lot of work to do," said the French teenager. "I am still learning a lot about the Superbike and I wanted to make some changes for the restart but unfortunately this meant I was a little late so had to start at the back.

"We have two more races here tomorrow and I think we can take a lot of what we have learnt today and use this to make two better races tomorrow. I am looking forward to it."

Team co-owner John Dimbylow added: "That was a fantastic performance from John Laverty on the circuit which almost claimed his life last year. I have the greatest of respect for the guy, what a result.

"Florian had to overcome some mechanical issues and lack of practice to turn in a good result and make some big strides forward in the development of the machine.

"We are still a new team and are moving forward as we had hoped. I think tomorrow both riders will be able to deliver even better results with the data we have gained today, and we are all looking forward to coming back in the morning and seeing what we can achieve together then."
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