With just two events and five races remaining before the 'first phase' of the MCE British Superbike Championship comes to a conclusion, attention is turning to whom will go forward and challenge for the 2010 title.
While new regulations creating a three-event title 'Showdown' in the interests of keeping the title fight alive until the end of the season, things remain closely contested among the leading riders.
However, with Tommy Hill, Josh Brookes, Ryuichi Kiyonari, Michael Laverty and Michael Rutter all well on course to secure the top six finish they need to progress, the battle for the sixth and final spot could come down to one of at least three riders.
Currently, John Laverty occupies sixth position in the standings on the Buildbase Kawasaki, albeit only on paper. Just one point separates him from Relentless Suzuki's Alastair Seeley, but when dropped scores are taken into account, Laverty – who has scored in every race this season – is classified on 119, with Seeley on 124.
As such, as things stand, Seeley would make it through to the Showdown, although there remains the threat of Stuart Easton, who has shown front running pace, but not the reliability to be any higher than eighth currently. However, having scored just eight points in the last five races, he is capable of bridging the 24 point gap in the remaining events.
Additionally, despite switching between three different teams this season, Chris Walker has a fighting chance having gelled immediately with the SMT Honda team, while James Ellison has the means to make up ground, even if his chances could be considered more mathematical than realistic.
Current British Superbike standings
(total with dropped scores in brackets)
Tommy Hill – 218 (218)
Josh Brookes – 216 (216)
Ryuichi Kiyonari – 193 (193)
Michael Laverty - 183 (177)
Michael Rutter 165 (165)
John Laverty – 129 (119)
Alastair Seeley – 128 (124)
Stuart Easton – 100 (100)
Chris Walker – 88 (88)
James Ellison – 70 (70)