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Alex Lowes heads into the MCE British Superbike Championship Title Showdown with four consecutive wins under his belt after holding off a determined Shane Byrne for a double victory at Donington Park, while James Westmoreland sneaked the sixth and final spot for the upcoming shootout.
Prevailing in a more frenetic battle than his lights-to-flag success in race one, though Lowes once again led from almost start-to-finish in race two, he was still forced to battle back against Byrne on the last lap as the reigning champion attempting to wrest the lead off his title rival at the final opportunity.
Indeed, the build-up to the last lap exchange had been a lively one as Lowes headed up a six-way train from the opening lap, the Samsung Honda rider nosing ahead of fast-starter James Ellison from the Old Hairpin.
With the opening lap ending in the order of Lowes, Byrne, Josh Brookes, Ellison, Westmoreland – getting a slightly better get-away from pole position than in race one – and Tommy Bridewell, the sextet would circulate in tandem to pull away from seventh place Jon Kirkham.
Indeed, despite the poor start, while Westmoreland's fifth place at this stage wouldn't be enough to overhaul Kirkham in the fight for the sixth and final Title Showdown spot, he was at least well in contention with the leaders as he pumped in a new fastest lap.
It was momentum he would carry past Brookes to fourth on lap six at Melbourne, just moments after Ellison had nosed ahead into the Esses.
With Ellison on the move, the Milwaukee Yamaha rider would pull off a similar pass on Byrne for second on lap eight, with Westmoreland eager to follow through yet again. However, the Buildbase BMW rider would find himself on the outside line into the hairpin, thus allowing Tommy Bridewell past both into third place. Demoting Westmoreland into fifth once again, staying in this position would swing the pendulum in favour of Kirkham.
However, Westmoreland's fortunes would take a significant upturn on lap ten when a charging Ellison would attempt to make a move on Lowes for the lead at the Esses. However, the former BSB runner-up would mis-judge his braking and carry on across the gravel trap.