Shane Byrne denied Leon Haslam his first victory of the season in the latest round of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship after a stealthy ride up the order following a poor start.

Although he spent much of the race allowing the HM Plant Hondas of Haslam and Cal Crutchlow to battle it out at the front, Byrne left it late to make his play for victory, passing Haslam with two laps remaining and scoring his sixth win in eight races.

It wasn't straightforward for Byrne though after he was bundled down from first to sixth by the first corner, with James Ellison instead getting the jump on his rivals to lead through Redgate and the Craner Curves.

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It was Haslam though who was on the immediate move, making a superb start from seventh on the grid to latch onto the back of Ellison up to McLeans and slipping through into the lead of the race. Losing momentum, Ellison slipped behind Michael Rutter, Michael Laverty and Crutchlow by the end of the first lap.

Despite his strong start though, Rutter would spend the next few laps falling back through the field, being passed by Laverty and Crutchlow on lap two and then again by Ellison, Leon Camier, Byrne and Karl Harris by lap five.

Up to third now, Crutchlow quickly made it a provisional 1-2 for the HM Plant team with a bold move on Laverty at Coppice on lap three, the two-time race winner going on to shadow his team-mate for the majority of the race.

Having lost ground after the first laps, Ellison settled into a rhythm to get back up to third at the expense of Laverty, the Honda rider being followed through by Camier and Byrne, who proceeded to keep a watching brief in fourth and fifth as the top five streaked away from their rivals.

Although the quintet were rarely separated by more than a second as they entered the second half of the race, only Byrne looked capable to making a sustained challenge up the order as he protected his bike's tyres.

He made his first move, on team-mate Camier, on lap twelve before passing Ellison almost immediately after when the Hydrex Bike Animal rider made a mistake at the Esses to allow both Airwaves Ducatis through.

With Harris and Crutchlow beginning to struggle with tyre wear, as well as the buffeting winds sweeping across the circuit, Byrne slipped up the inside of Crutchlow at Melbourne Hairpin on lap 17 and set about attempting to wrestle the win off long time leader Haslam.

He didn't have to wait long, Byrne mirroring Haslam throughout lap 18 before pulling an identical manoeuvre at Melbourne to sneak into the lead. Once ahead, Byrne simply eased to a comfortable advantage to secure a sixth victory of the season and in the process extend his championship lead to 68 points.

Haslam scored his second podium of the day, ahead of Crutchlow, who held off a charging Camier in the closing stages to take third on the track and, with it, second in the standings.

Ellison dropped back rapidly after slipping to fifth but still finished three seconds up on Tom Sykes, who couldn't match his podium from the first race, even if he still made up seven places in the race.

Harris, who pressured Byrne in the early stages, had to settle for an anonymous seventh, while Rutter was another to fall out of contention following a quick start to cross the line in eighth. Simon Andrews claimed his second top ten finish of the day in ninth, while Guy Mason scored a best result of the season for Cup rider in tenth.