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Shane Byrne shrugged off the effects of his recent shoulder surgery to claim a convincing victory at Assen, a win that also lifts him to the head of the overall standings at the expense of the unfortunate Tommy Hill.
The first of seven races that will decide the outcome of the 2012 British Superbike Championship, Hill began the day with a ten point lead over Josh Brookes and 12 points ahead of Byrne, but always stood to lose his advantage when he was involved in a bizarre pre-race accident.
The Swan Yamaha rider was completing his sighting lap, but as he made his way through the packed grid to take his fourth place starting position, a mechanic from another team stepped in his path and caught the brake lever.
Sending him off the bike, despite the low-speed nature of the accident, the impact has damaged the Yamaha just minutes before the race, preventing him from taking the start.
With Hill out of the reckoning, his five title rivals sensed an opportunity to capitalise and it was Michael Laverty who took the early advantage as he led into turn one, ahead of Byrne, Brookes and Jakub Smrz, the Czech rider getting his first BSB race underway with a good start.
Wasting no time in stamping his mark on proceedings, Byrne dived ahead of Laverty for the lead on the second lap, while Brookes, the fast-starting Stuart Easton, Tommy Bridewell and Alex Lowes, who got a poor start from pole position, followed in close contention.
As is typical of the iconic Dutch circuit, there was little to separate the front runners as they tackled the opening laps, though Brookes did give himself work to do when a slight error briefly allowed Easton and Bridewell ahead of him.
However, while Byrne did attempt to make a break, he was swiftly reeled back in by Laverty, who duly carried his momentum through into the lead on lap eight.