Assen BSB: Battle-lines drawn as Lowes edges Byrne

Alex Lowes prevails in a thrilling final lap battle with Shane Byrne to claim first blood in the Title Showdown; Ellison retires whilst leading, Brookes finishes fourth.
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Alex Lowes has reduced Shane Byrne's advantage in the MCE British Superbike Championship standings to just a single point after prevailing over his main rival in a thrilling 'Title Showdown' opener at Assen.

The first of seven races that will decide the outcome of the 2013 championship, Lowes came into the encounter with all eyes on him having dominated free practice and qualifying around the Dutch circuit, not to mention win each of the last four races.

However, while he would eventually emerge victorious, Lowes was forced to work hard from start-to-finish, the youngster showing the racing mettle he will need to win this year's title with an aggressive last lap challenge that would give him the edge at the chequered flag over Byrne.

Indeed, contrary to his single lap efforts over the weekend thus far, Lowes had spent much of the race trailing either Byrne or James Ellison, the latter getting the better of Lowes on the opening lap with a daring pass around the outside of Mandeveen to take an early lead.

It was an advantage the Milwaukee Yamaha rider would maintain for much of the race, the former MotoGP rider rebuffing both Lowes and Byrne as they diced for second position behind him. However, Ellison's hopes of getting his Title Showdown off to a perfect start would end abruptly on lap 12 of 18 when an apparent technical problem forced him into a costly retirement.

Allowing Byrne into the lead for the first time, Lowes would calmly hold station behind his rival until the closing stages before unleashing a fine overtake through Hoge Heide on the penultimate revolution, an exploratory pass that would set up a thrilling last lap exchange between the main rivals.

Beginning with a swap of positions through Stekkenwal, Mandeveen and Dulkersloot, it was Byrne that would find himself nosing in front with just two bends remaining.

However, as is often the case at Assen, the race would ultimately be decided through the final complex with Lowes repeating his pass from a lap earlier to slice in front before holding his line into Geert Timmer to catapult out of the final kink and across the line ahead of Byrne.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Alex Lowes
Alex Lowes
Alex Lowes and Shane Byrne - picture credit
Alex Lowes Samsung Honda - picture credit
Alex Lowes - Samsung Honda [pic credit: Honda UK]
Jason O`Halloran, Honda Racing [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Josh Brookes, Anvil Hire Yamaha, [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Shane Byrne, Be Wiser Ducati, [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Peter Hickman, Smiths BMW [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Tommy Bridewell, Team WD-40 Kawasaki [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
James Ellison, McAMS Yamaha [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Dan Linfoot, Honda Racing [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Haslam, Byrne, Mossey, [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Shane Byrne, Be Wiser Ducati, [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
James Ellison, McAMS Yamaha [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Haslam, Byrne, Mossey, [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Haslam, Byrne, Mossey, [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Dan Linfoot, Honda Racing [Credit: Ian Hopgood]

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September 22, 2013 2:07 PM

what an awesome race the front two battles over the last few laps were awesome BSB has got to be one of the best series in the world and with Byrne and Lowes they have riders who can draw the fans in. I see Kiyo finished 14th! and he is in the showdown what a huge disappointment he has been all year waste of a superb bike that an up and coming rider could be on. Bridewell on his third different bike of the year an another podium i hope he gets a contract for next year and the West Country will turn out in support.

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