Hill storms to Race One win
TOMMY Hill took the win in today's opening MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship race at Thruxton.
The championship leader left it until the penultimate lap to take the lead in the 20-lap dash around the fast Hampshire circuit, but once he was in front there was no catching him.
Second across the line was Aussie Josh Brookes, with Hill's Worx Crescent Suzuki team-mate Yukio Kagayama third.
Although Hill had started the race from Pole, it was the still injured Stuart Easton's Swan Honda which got the holeshot at the start, leading the field into the first lap as Hill tucked in behind.
By Lap Four, Kagayama had managed to barge past Hill and up into second while Easton kept hold of the top spot for the first half of the race.
Behind, the man on a charge was HM Plant Honda's Josh Brookes, who had moved from seventh in the opening lap up to fourth by Lap 10, passing Hill into third a lap later.
After moving into second on Lap 13 and then taking the lead from Kagayama two laps later, it looked like it was going to be a straight scrap between the Aussie and Japanese star, particularly as Easton had began to drop back.
But on Lap 18 Kagayama ran wide allowing Hill to squeeze through and chase down Brookes a lap later.
As the field headed into the final lap, Hill was able to put a nice gap between himself and Brookes, and he crossed the line first with ease. Easton finished fourth.
"That race was non-stop every lap and it was a real fight out there and towards the end everyone was all over the place," said Hill.
"I was comfortable in the middle of the race but then Josh came past and I have to say I wasn't expecting it as I thought I had braked late.
"It is good for everyone and I want to thank the Worx Crescent Suzuki team; lets see if we can make it the double in race two."
The shock of the race was Martin Jessopp, who set the fastest lap time of all and will start Race Two from Pole.
In the EVO Class, Gary Johnson took the win on his AIM Suzuki, with the Close Print Finance Honda of Craig Fitzpatrick second and the Magic Bullet Suzuki of David Johnson third.
Newcastle's Chris Burns finished fourth in the EVO class, but holds onto third in the championship after nearest rival Hudson Kennaugh retired two laps from the end.
MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship, Thruxton, race one:
1. Tommy Hill (Worx Crescent Suzuki)
2. Josh Brookes (HM Plant Honda) +0.818s
3. Yukio Kagayama (Worx Crescent Suzuki) +1.185s
4. Stuart Easton (Swan Honda) +1.510s
5. Michael Rutter (Ridersmotorcycles.com Ducati) +5.670s
6. Martin Jessopp (Ridersmotorcycles.com Ducati) +7.490s
7. John Laverty (Buildbase Kawasaki) +9.154s
8. Gary Mason (MSS Colchester Kawasaki) +9.300s
9. Ryuichi Kiyonari (HM Plant Honda) +9.493s
10. Michael Laverty (Relentless Suzuki by TAS) +17.014s
*Images by DJPhoto
** Additional Reporting by Mic Archbold