The first World Superbike Championship race at Donington Park has been brought to a halt after ten laps following a flurry of accidents that prompted the red flag with Tom Sykes in the lead.

A hugely eventful race up until that point, the tricky weather conditions had already caught out Ryuichi Kiyonari, Carlos Checa, Max Neukirchner and Regis Laconi, among others, but it was oil from Noriyuki Haga's ailing Yamaha that seemed to cause three big accidents at Coppice.

Catching Troy Corser out first, he was promptly followed by Makoto Tamada and Checa, the Spaniard off for the second time. Tamada's crash was a particularly heavy one.

With the race stopped while marshals clean up the surface, only 24 riders are set to make the restart, which will be based on aggregate times from where they finished the ninth lap.

That means Sykes sensationally heads Troy Bayliss by almost four seconds after a superb first stint that saw him catch and pass the championship leader, before promptly pulling away.

Corser was third when he came down, but it isn't clear whether he can make the restart. Currently, Leon Haslam, who is flying from 12th on the grid, is fourth, with Ruben Xaus fifth and Roberto Rolfo in sixth. Yukio Kagayama, Greg Lavilla, Jakub Smrz and Max Biaggi round out the top ten provisionally.

Elsewhere, James Ellison is 12th after a terrible start left him down in 18th place, while Cal Crutchlow and Chris Walker were forced to retire with technical problems.