Tommy Hill stamped his authority on race one at Cadwell Park with an imperious performance that left his rivals floundering.
The reigning MCE British Superbike champion turned the tables Alex Lowes, who had been consistently fastest during qualifying yesterday.
Hill broke the WFR Honda rider's resolve with a series of searing laps towards the final stages of the 18-lap race to ease to victory by 2.7 seconds.
Michael Laverty confirmed his place in the Showdown as he crossed the line in a comfortable third place on the Samsung Honda, 3.6 seconds down on Hill.
Danny Buchan overhauled John Kirkham to move into fourth position with two laps remaining, while Tyco Suzuki's Josh Brookes gained the upper hand over Karl Harris to snatch sixth.
Laverty made the early running from Hill and Lowes before reigning champion Hill took over at Coppice on the third lap, with Lowes also making a move on the Northern Irishman.
Hill and Lowes began to pull away from Laverty, who in turn edged a gap over a three-way battle for fourth position involving Kirkham, Buchan and Harris.
Lowes shadowed Hill for much of the race without mounting a serious challenge for the lead, but Hill put the hammer down on lap 14, setting the fastest lap of the race in a time of 1m 27.986s to power ahead.
Lowes could do nothing but watch as Hill opened up a gap of 3.2 seconds by the penultimate lap, although he was safe in second place ahead of Laverty, whose third position was also guaranteed barring a mistake.
Aussie Brookes joined the battle for fourth involving Kirkham, Buchan and Harris and with one lap remaining moved into sixth position after putting a move on Harris.
Buchan demoted long-time fourth place man Kirkham to fifth two laps from the end, with Brookes settling for sixth.
James Westmoreland, Tommy Bridewell and Peter Hickman completed the top 10.
Ian Lowry had moved into ninth place after overtaking Bridewell at the foot of the Mountain on the penultimate lap, but the Ulster rider ran onto the grass in his efforts to gain another position from Westmoreland on the final lap and eventually finished 12th behind Michael Rutter.
Luke Quigley and Mark Aitchison crashed out at the beginning of the race.
Hill, celebrating his sixth victory of the season, will start from pole in this afternoon's second race from Lowes and Brookes, with Laverty, Harris and Bridewell on row two.CLICK HERE
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