Defending MCE Insurance British Superbike champion Tommy Hill scored a double podium finish in his home round at Brands Hatch on Sunday, despite a clutch problem in race one.
After dropping down the order due to the clutch issue, the Swan Yamaha star put in a determined ride to move back up the field - then was gifted third when team-mate Noriyuki Haga crashed out on the very final lap.
“We had an issue with the clutch; on the sighting lap the rear locked up and I came back to the grid and the clutch went solid on me so I spent the first few laps trying to adjust the lever and there were riders coming passed me from all directions,” confirmed the 2012 title leader.
“I set my target on Michael [Laverty] and I was able to get past him and I wanted to try and go with Josh [Brookes], but he had checked out. I wasn't going to be able to catch the leading three and I hold my hands up and say I was gifted the podium with Noriyuki crashing but you have to be in it to win it.”
Hill then fought hard for a third place in race two, as he closed in on eventual race winner Shane Byrne and second placed Brookes.
“I got stuck in with Shakey and Josh as they came back to me about halfway through the race but it was a bit of an elastic band effect and I was never close enough to make a pass,” said Hill.
“Everyone was riding hard and we are all riding at the top of our game, but all in all it wasn't a bad weekend. We need to be consistently on the podium and we will raise our game and hopefully it will be our turn at Cadwell Park.”
Hill is now a reduced 11 points clear of Byrne at the top of the championship but - like Byrne and Brookes - has already booked his place in The Showdown.
Team-mate Haga apologised for his late race one blunder, which was followed by a fifth in race two.
“First of all I would like to say sorry to the team for the crash in the first race,” said the Japanese. “I had an advantage to Tommy and I didn't have as much grip at the end but I made a stupid mistake to lose the front and crash.