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Tommy Hill has increased his advantage in the MCE British Superbike Championship standings after producing a faultless lights-to-flag victory at Oulton Park.
Having dominated qualifying to start on pole position, Hill duly got the hole shot into the opening bend and wasn't headed thereafter, the Swan Yamaha rider proceeding to gap his opponents consistently over 16 laps to finish more than 4.5secs ahead by the chequered flag.
Even so, if Hill's performance up front was certainly calm, the battle raging behind him proving rather more intense as up to six riders disputed what would become the runners-up spot.
Michael Laverty held it initially, ahead of Shane Byrne, Josh Brookes and Ian Lowry, but the race would open up on lap four when Laverty had his Samsung Honda turn around on him as he exited of Brittens, delaying his close-following rivals and allowing Hill's lead to expand from 0.5secs to 2.5secs.
With Lowry also dropping his Padgetts Honda simultaneously in the first part of Brittens, Byrne now held second position, ahead of Brookes and a charging Alex Lowes, who had rocketed up the order from 19th position on the grid to be challenging for the podium by just lap five.
However, his race would come to an unsatisfactory end on lap nine when he became the third Honda rider to drop his bike at the Brittens chicane from a fairly comfortable fourth. Despite this, Lowes has a chance to make amends in race two, his fastest lap on the way up to fourth earning him pole position.
With Hill now five seconds up the road, attention turned to the battle for second place as Brookes placed continuous pressure on Byrne. With podium credits up for grabs, Brookes maintained a watching brief behind the Kawasaki rider before successfully launching his one-and-only passing attempt at the final corner on the final lap.
A good result for both Brookes and Byrne on a day they couldn't maintain the pace of Hill, their performance means the reigning champion has only extended his advantage to 14 points.
Behind them, Noriyuki Haga stayed out of trouble for fourth position, the Japanese rider bringing himself up to within a point of the crucial sixth place in the overall standings.
A race of high attrition, as well as Laverty, Lowry and Lowes crashing out, Alastair Seeley and Jon Kirkham retired from good positions with technical issues, while Tristan Palmer was also on course for a top ten finish when he slid off the GBmoto Honda.
As such, James Westmoreland came through for a second consecutive top five finish, the WFR Honda rider just keeping a fast-approaching Tommy Bridewell at bay. The Supersonic BMW rider had started a lowly 17th but picked his way up the order to finish in sixth place, in turn moving himself up to fifth in the overall standings.
Shrugging off his foot injuries, Chris Walker was a noteworthy seventh on the Pr1mo Bournemouth Kawasaki, just ahead of Peter Hickman, who turned his fine qualifying performance into Buildbase's best BMW result in eighth place.
Graeme Gowland made it two WFR Hondas in the top ten in ninth, while Hickman's team-mate Barry Burrell made it a day of success for Buildbase BMW in tenth position.
Rounding out the points' paying positions, Patric Muff crossed the line 11th, Luke Quigley 12th, Scott Smart 13th, Michael Rutter 14th and Mark Aitchison 15th, the latter picking up a point on his BSB debut aboard the Quattro Plant Kawasaki.
Looking ahead to the second race, Lowes starts from pole position, with Hill, Haga and Byrne making up the front row, while Brookes is joined by three non-finishers - Seeley, Laverty and Lowry – on row two.