Ian Hutchinson completed a clean sweep of Superstock victories at the big three international road races in 2016 with a close fought win over Michael Dunlop at the MCE Ulster Grand Prix.

The fierce rivals went head to head in a thrilling six-lap race at Dundrod, with Dunlop leading for most of the way on his MD Racing BMW as Hutchinson appeared content to sit on his rear wheel.

The Bingley Bullet had to fight his way through from 15th place on the grid after qualifying was held in damp conditions on Thursday, but Hutchinson was into the lead by the end of lap one from Derek Sheils and Peter Hickman.

GBmoto Kawasaki's Hickman had opened a gap of 2.5 seconds on the first lap but began to lose ground and eventually retired at the end of lap two with a rear tyre puncture.

Dunlop had grabbed the lead at the start of lap three with Hutchinson giving chase, while Manx rider Dan Kneen was going strongly in third on the Mar-Train Yamaha.

The top three began to pull away from Dean Harrison on the Silicone Engineering Kawasaki, who was in a battle for fourth with Dublin rider Sheils (Shirlaw Kawasaki) and Conor Cummins on the Valvoline Padgetts Honda.

There was little to choose between Dunlop and Hutchinson on the final laps as they broke clear of Kneen, setting up a dramatic final lap.

Dunlop still led at the Deer's Leap but Hutchinson - who lapped at 132.292mph - had forced his nose to the front at Jordan's Cross and the Yorkshire rider held on to win by 0.261 seconds at the finish.

Harrison claimed fourth ahead of Cummins, with Gary Johnson an excellent sixth on the East Coast/Burdens BMW. Sheils and Steve Mercer (Devitt RC Express Kawasaki) were the top eight.