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Alex Lowes has manoeuvred himself into the MCE British Superbike Championship title fight after claiming a long-awaited first win for both himself and the WFR Honda team at Silverstone.
Despite having only two BSB podiums to his name, the in-form youngster came into the race as the hot favourite for victory after dominating free practice and qualifying, though it remained to be seen if Lowes could carry that form over a race distance.
As it happens, after confidently jostling with the leaders over the opening laps, Lowes would eventually stretch his advantage over the second half of the race to win by a commanding five-second margin.
Indeed, Lowes was made to work hard over the opening laps, his overtake for the lead on Laverty down the Hangar Straight on lap two followed by Shane Byrne pulling a similar move on lap five.
However, Byrne's hopes of challenging for the win would effectively come to an end just a few corners later at Brooklands when he missed his braking point and ran wide, dropping him down to sixth and reinstating Lowes into the lead.
Even so, Lowes still had close company in the shape of Tommy Bridewell, who was putting in an inspired performance on the Supersonic BMW. Struggling in practice and qualifying to start only 12th, Bridewell scythed his way up the order during the early laps to set the fastest lap (which would give him pole position for race two) and even momentarily nose ahead into the lead for the first time in his career.
In the end, Lowes would edge ahead as Bridewell became embroiled in a busy fight for second place, the BMW rider allowing the leader to make his escape to the chequered flag.
Despite his best efforts, Bridewell was struggling to contain Laverty, championship leader Josh Brookes, James Westmoreland – who had also joined the fight in the second-half of the race – and a recovering Byrne.