Hill fends off Hondas for Brands Hatch victory
25 April 2011
Tommy Hill has taken an early lead in the 2011 MCE British Superbike Championship standings after holding Ryuichi Kiyonari and Shane Byrne at bay to win race two at Brands Hatch.
Having finished second in the opening race, despite being caught up in Michael Laverty's accident, Hill's charge up the order was rewarded with pole position, alongside his team-mate, for race two.
However, it was Byrne that got the better start, leading into Paddock Hill Bend, ahead of Hill, Laverty and Kiyonari, the Japanese rider getting a good getaway from sixth position.
On the hunt for a double victory, Byrne was not allowed to get away from the pack, though Hill's tight lines would continue to be repelled by Byrne's equally precise riding.
In the end it would take a bold move at Druids for Hill to move ahead on lap 14, the Yamaha man slipping beneath the Honda and grabbing the lead.
Byrne gave chase and stayed close to the Yamaha rider, in contrast to Laverty, who was beginning to fall away and delay Kiyonari.
The reigning champion would eventually get the better of Laverty on lap 22 and would immediately set upon catching the leading duo, a feat he managed with just four short laps remaining.
Running out of time to find his way back past Hill, Byrne eventually planted his move for the win on the penultimate lap, but his effort at Paddock Hill Bend was undone by him running wide and allowing both Hill and Kiyonari through.
Heading into the final lap, it was Kiyonari's turn to pressure Hill into a mistake, but while he showed his rival a wheel at McLaren, Hill would hold on for victory by a mere tenth of a second.
His win and second place finish – identical results to that of last year – means Hill heads to the next round at Oulton Park with a four point advantage in the standings, ahead of Byrne, who would settle for third on this occasion.
Laverty was a distant fourth on the second Swan Yamaha, well up on John Hopkins, who made amends for his failure to score in race one with a solid run to fifth. Stuart Easton finished in sixth position, ahead of Michael Rutter, Dan Linfoot, Peter Hickman and Gary Mason.
Having just missed out on victory in race one, Alex Lowes took EVO honours over Glen Richards this time, the WFR Honda duo finishing 12th and 14th.
Elsewhere, there was disappointment for Jon Kirkham, who suffered problems on the warm-up lap, and race one podium winner Tommy Bridewell, the Tyco Honda rider crashing out from seventh.
Josh Brookes failed to start as a legacy of his race one crash.