Ian Lowry is the surprise new leader of the MCE British Superbike Championship standings after sensationally breaking his victory duck with a superb performance at Thruxton.

The Padgetts Honda rider had been in fine form over the weekend, qualifying on the front row for the first time in second position before going on to demonstrate impressive race pace too.

Holding station behind long-time leader Tommy Hill during the first race, Lowry, who had never been on the BSB podium in 53 starts, began piling the pressure on in the closing stages, an endeavour he successfully completed with just three laps remaining when he scythed through at Cobb.

Nosing into the lead of a race for the first time in his BSB career, Lowry proceeded to pull a gap on Hill immediately, allowing him to cross the line as the winner by almost three seconds.

An outstanding achievement for Lowry, who has struggled for consistent results since his debut BSB season in 2009, the Ulsterman was thrilled to be calling himself a race winner for the first time.

"I'm absolutely over the moon with the first race result everything just went right and the Padgetts Honda team were perfect. I knew I had the pace to run near the front this weekend and everything in the first race just went according to plan and it was mint.

"I just followed Tommy and wanted to see where he was struggling, I knew I had to make a break and made a clean pass on him for the lead.

"It was important to keep focused and not lose concentration and it made things easier knowing I had managed to pull a small gap. I didn't need to do anything stupid and throw away the win. The bike and team were perfect, it was just awesome."

Though early errors scuppered Lowry's hopes of a repeat performance in race two, his run to fifth place was still enough to ensure that he leaves the second event with a slim advantage at the top of the standings.

"I was a little unsettled in the second race for the first opening laps and maybe that was because I'd put a bit of pressure on myself. I made a few mistakes at the start and I knew I needed to settle down, get my head straight and get into a rhythm, by which point the front runners had made a break at the front.

"I knew my lap-times were good but I just wasn't able to catch the leaders and make a pass, I had a few issues with grip and a couple of times I thought I was going down but I just knew I had to settle down and take the fifth place.

"I'm now leading the British Championship and it's a position I've never been in before but it's a mega feeling. I can't wait for Oulton in a few weeks, I would just like to thank everyone who has had the faith in me this year and hope I can continue to prove myself and ride well."