Alex Lowes has taken the lead of the MCE British Superbike Championship following a thrilling victory over Shane 'Shakey' Byrne in the opening race at Silverstone.
Samsung Honda rider Lowes and Byrne battled all the way to the flag in a scintillating finish to the first race at the penultimate Showdown round, with Lowes clinging on to win by half-a-bike length at the line to open a four-point lead at the top.
Milwaukee Yamaha's Tommy Bridewell claimed the final place on the podium after prevailing in a race-long duel with Tyco Suzuki's PJ Jacobsen.
Australian rider Josh Brookes was forced to pull out on lap five with machine trouble on the Tyco Suzuki while holding third place and is now 48 points behind series leader Lowes.
James Ellison, who started from 18th place on the grid after a spill in Q2 ruled him out of the final qualifying session on Saturday, fought his way through the pack to finish fifth on the Milwaukee Yamaha and is now 14 points ahead of Brookes in the championship table.
Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki rider Byrne, who is feeling the effects of a big high-side in practice, blasted into the lead from Lowes, Brookes and Jacobsen on lap one.
However, the three-time BSB champion was quickly pushed back to second as Lowes hit the front with a move up the inside at the end of the Hangar Straight.
GBmoto Honda's Dan Linfoot and Noriyuki Haga on the Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki tangled at Vale on the opening lap and crashed out unhurt.
Ellison had climbed to ninth place by the end of the first lap as the Showdown contender began to surge through the field.
With Lowes continuing to lead from Byrne at the front, Brookes' title hopes suffered a huge setback as the Suzuki rider retired with machine trouble on his GSX-R1000 on the fifth lap.
Jacobsen was promoted to third from Bridewell, with Jon Kirkham lying fifth.