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James Ellison has marked his full-time return to the MCE British Superbike Championship with a peerless victory in the second race of the day at Brands Hatch.
Starting from pole position, though Ellison was beaten into the opening bend by race one winner Shane Byrne, the Milwaukee Yamaha rider grabbed the advantage again on the second lap and was never headed thereafter.
Even so, it would take a faultless performance from Ellison to hold Byrne at bay, the ex-MotoGP rider keeping his lines neat and tidy to continuously rebuff his rival in a race that would see the top two nose-to-tail for much of the race.
However, the tussle would reach its climax on lap 27 of 30 when Byrne, running out of laps to overtake Ellison, attempted a move into McLaren only to realise mid-manoeuvre he wouldn't have the space to slip by. Forced to sit up, Byrne would miss Ellison's rear wheel by a whisker as he proceeded to take a wild trip across the grass at high speed. Though he was able to stay upright, Byrne would slip behind Alex Lowes into third place.
With Byrne out of contention, Ellison was free to cruise to the chequered flag, a fine result for a rider that hasn't raced full-time in Superbikes since 2010.
Benefitting from Byrne's faux pas, Lowes notched up another second place finish to complete a successful first weekend for Samsung Honda, ahead of the reigning champion, who still leads the standings after the opening round.
Behind the trio, Ryuichi Kiyonari showed well during the early stages of the race before settling for a lonely fourth position, while title favourite Josh Brookes was similarly on his own in fifth place, almost 16 seconds off the leaders.
Following his strong run to fourth in race one, Jon Kirkham was again on form to finish sixth aboard the Buildbase BMW, ahead of Karl Harris, who put his front row start to good use for a strong seventh place result. Chris Walker picked up eighth place, with James Westmoreland and Keith Farmer rounding out the top ten.
Just behind, Robbin Harms crossed the line 11th, ahead of PJ Jacobsen, Peter Hickman and Josh Waters, while Matteo Baiocco snatched the final point aboard the sole Ducati 1199 Panigale on the grid in 15th.
Elsewhere, there was disappointment for race one top five finisher Tommy Bridewell as a mechanical issue forced him to retire from sixth position.