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Byrne shows class to seal first victory of 2012
7 May 2012
Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki's Shane 'Shakey' Byrne seized his first victory of 2012 in the second MCE British Superbike Championship race at Oulton Park.
Byrne made steady progress through the field on his ZX-10R and the PBM rider closed right in on Swan Yamaha's Tommy Hill as the race reached a climax, timing his move to perfection to hit the front two laps from the end of the 18-lap race before pulling away to win by 2.6 seconds from Hill.
Stuart Easton capped a terrific day for the Rapid Solicitors team to secure the final spot on the podium in third.
It was a special moment for Scottish rider Easton, who was back on the rostrum again after battling back from serious injuries sustained in a crash at the North West 200 road races almost a year ago.
Tyco Suzuki's Josh Brookes, Tommy Bridewell on the Supersonic BMW S1000RR and Hill's team-mate Noriyuki Haga rounded out the leading six.
It was Easton who stormed into the lead of the race from earlier winner Chris Walker and WFR Honda's Graeme Gowland, who started from pole position.
Easton still led on lap three as Brookes moved into third place on his GSX-R1000 Suzuki behind Walker, with Gowland dropping to fourth.
Hill was on a charge and by lap seven he was into third place, less than half a second behind Brookes, with Easton holding a lead of just over one second.
At this stage Byrne was fourth ahead of Gowland, Bridewell and Samsung Honda's Michael Laverty.
Hill overhauled Brookes before snatching the lead of the race from Easton at the start of the tenth lap. But Byrne was now in hot pursuit and edged ahead of his team-mate before chasing after Hill.
He rattled off a series of fast laps to put Hill under extreme pressure on lap 14 and inevitably powered through into the lead with two laps of the scheduled 18-lap distance remaining.
Easton held third from Brookes, with Bridewell next and Haga sixth.
Two-time champion Byrne had the victory in his sights and stretched away from Hill, going on to win by more than two and a half seconds.
Easton held on for third, hotly pursued by Brookes, with Bridewell, Haga, Laverty, Gowland, Walker and Alex Lowes the top ten.
Alastair Seeley was 11th on the second Tyco Suzuki ahead of Dan Linfoot and Ian Lowry.
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