John Hopkins can call himself a British Superbike race winner just two rounds into his rookie campaign after an aggressive charge to the front of the pack at Oulton Park.
A close race that saw the top five covered by a mere second as they crossed the finish line, Hopkins led just one full lap after pouncing on a minor wobble for Michael Laverty during the penultimate revolution.
Though he had to defend hard from the Swan Yamaha rider over the course of the final lap, it was Laverty that made the error just corners from the chequered flag as he ran on at the Hizzy chicane, dropping him to fifth position.
The race was defined by a safety car period mid-race, prompted by a spectacular accident for Josh Brookes, the Relentless by TAS Suzuki man coming down hard as he chased leader Stuart Easton.
Indeed, having gotten the jump at the start, Easton, Brookes and shock front row starter Alex Lowes initially established a sizeable advantage over the chasing pack, their cause aided by Byrne running off at Hizzy's on lap five and forcing his rivals to back off as he returned to the circuit.
Lowes would eventually drop back as he concentrated on his EVO lead, leaving Easton and Brookes with a healthy lead over Hopkins, Laverty and Michael Rutter by lap nine.
However, just as Brookes looked on the verge of launching an attack, he lost the front-end of the GSX-R1000 on the run to Brittens, the bike catapulting across the chicane, just missing the unaware Easton and showering him with debris. Though Brookes walked away from the shunt, the safety car was released to clear the wreckage.
As such, Easton now had Hopkins, Laverty, Ryuichi Kiyonari and Shane Byrne for close company with seven laps of the race remaining.
At the restart, it was Laverty immediately on the move as he pushed his way past Hopkins on lap 14 before following it up with a pass on Easton for the lead on lap 15.