Northern Ireland's Michael Laverty endured a disastrous opening to his MCE British Superbike challenge as he joined a list of leading protagonists who fell victim to the tricky conditions on the Brands Indy circuit.

Laverty entered the first round in magnificent form after excelling during pre-season testing and featured at the top of the leaderboard during practice for much of the weekend at Brands.

However, he missed out on the chance of securing a fast lap in Saturday's weather-affected qualifying sessions and started from 21st position on the grid.

In stark contrast to his team-mate and race winner Jon Kirkham, Laverty's race ended on a bitter low as he high-sided on the exit of Druids while trying to make up ground on the opening lap.

"It has been a nightmare day for me; this morning was the first time I had any wet practice on the Samsung Honda and we planned on making some changes for the first race and I felt more comfortable even on the warm-up laps," said Laverty.

"I just pushed as I knew I needed to make up some places early on and I just pushed too hard out of Druids and the bike bit me. This wasn't the start I obviously wanted to the season but we will be looking to turn it around this weekend at Thruxton."

Team manager Havier Beltran, added: "It was fantastic for Jon to give the Samsung Honda team a victory in the first race of the season. He has gelled well with the team and he rode a controlled race and knew where he would have a chance to pass Seeley, and when he did he was able to make it happen.

"For Michael it went wrong in qualifying and that gave him a lot of work for the race and unfortunately he got caught out, like many others, in the conditions."