Tommy Hill takes a slender two-point advantage over Josh Brookes into the triple race eighth round of the MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship at Brands Hatch this weekend - with former double champion Ryuichi Kiyonari also in close contention.
These races come at a crucial time of the campaign, with all of the riders focussed on scoring strong points in their efforts to be in the top six in the overall standings after the following round at Cadwell Park.
And while the leading trio are seemingly well placed to progress to the shoot-out for the title, they cannot afford any slips.
The new points scoring system, introduced this season, should ensure that the title fight goes down to the last race, although that is piling the pressure onto the riders who have to ensure consistent form, something that is not lost on Hill.
“We know that we need to get back to winning ways as although the focus is on the top six, the podium credits are vital and extra points at this, my home round, could mean the difference between winning or losing the title,” said the Worx Crescent Suzuki rider.
“We needed podiums last time out at Snetterton after two disappointing rounds before that and that is what we did with three podium finishes. It is a good feeling to go into these Brands Hatch races leading the standings, but Josh and Kiyo showed that Honda will be up there too, and you can't rule anybody out,” added Hill.
He had last weekend off, but the HM Plant Honda duo of Brookes and Kiyonari were in World Superbike action at Silverstone gaining more experience and information that could be vital to them when they race in the penultimate round of BSB there in September.
Both are now fully focussed on strong performances to move ahead of Hill and keep their title hopes firmly on track as Brookes, who raced on the Grand Prix circuit in World Supersport action in 2008, explained:
“I want to be winning and I missed out on taking all three victories in the previous round at Snetterton, so hopefully we can put that right this time - I have always had good feelings of this circuit and I think that puts you in a good position ahead of the races.”