Further down the order, Ian Lowry was sixth for Relentless Suzuki, followed by Motorpoint/Henderson Yamaha's duo Chris Walker and Graeme Gowland.
Team NB Suzuki's Tommy Bridewell took the honours in the Mirror.co.uk Cup category - and he also took P9 overall, edging out the SMT Honda of Jason O'Hallaoran, who finished tenth.
Michael Rutter was just outside the top ten and had to settle for eleventh. Rutter, who is standing in for the injured Sylvain Guintoli, had qualified on the front row for Worx Crescent Suzuki, but he failed to capitalise on it.
In total seven riders failed to finish. Hydrex Honda's Karl Harris was the first casualty when he went off at Real Radio Hairpin, while trying to pass Chris Walker. Julien Da Costa followed not long after, as did John Laverty, who crashed at Scotsman. Four laps later, David Johnson joined the retirees list, crashing at Real Radio Hairpin and then on lap 21 Mason lost it and collected Palmer - as mentioned previously.
The action in the 2009 ViSK.com British Superbike Championship now continues at 16.30 hours [local time] with race 2.