Tommy Hill has taken the early advantage in the British Superbike title shootout after winning the first of seven ?EUR~showdown?EUR(TM) races at Croft.

The Worx Crescent Suzuki rider moved to the front on lap four after working his way past early leader Michael Laverty, though the Northern Irishman would continue to push his fellow Suzuki rider hard to the chequered flag.

Indeed, Laverty launched a spirited attack on Hill over the final lap, showing his rival a wheel on several occasions, but the series leader held his nerve to win by just over a tenth.

A great start to the title shootout for Hill and Laverty, their efforts are made all the more crucial after their four rivals endured dismal starts to the day.

Michael Rutter had been running in third position when he committed a rare mistake by falling at the final corner hairpin, while Alastair Seeley was another to fail to score after retiring on lap eight.

Josh Brookes battled back from his 13th place starting position, but could only make it up to sixth, while Ryuichi Kiyonari endured an uncharacteristically poor race down in 11th after a poor start left him outside the top twenty early on.

As such, the revised standings see Hill out front with 550 points, with Brookes on 534, Kiiyonari on 530 and Laverty on 529. Rutter and Seeley remain on 510 and 505 points respectively.

Stuart Easton rounded out the podium for Swan Honda, the Scot benefitting from a front tyre puncture for team-mate James Ellison just four laps from the chequered flag.

Additionally, Simon Andrews and Dan Linfoot capitalised for their best results of the season for MSS Colchester Kawasaki and Motorpoint Yamaha, the pair holding off a charging Brookes.

Loris Baz completed Motorpoint Yamaha strong race with a run to seventh on his BSB debut, while John Laverty, Chris Walker and Gary Mason rounded out the top ten.

In the Evo class, Hudson Kennaugh took victory with 15th overall, the Splitlath Aprilia scoring an overall point too.