Sean Emmett and Steve Hislop took a victory apiece in the opening round of the 2002 Motorcycle News British Superbike Championship in front of 22,500 crowd at Silverstone today.

Hislop, the series runner-up last season, had been at his most determined, taking the Dunlop Superpole with a time over a second inside the lap record and almost a second faster than the rest, who were led by IFC Ducati rider Emmett.

Remarkably, Emmett had not ridden his bike until practice on Saturday, but he was quickly dialled in to what had been his Red Bull Ducati race bike of last season and in the opening 22 lapper, made the better start to be running half a second clear of his MonsterMob Ducati rival after the first lap.

The high-speed duel continued throughout, with Hislop trying everything to find a way past, but even breaking the record, he could not take the hard charging Emmett who took the victory by 0.398secs.

"It was Roy of the Rovers stuff - I had not ridden a bike since last October," smiled Emmett while Hislop rued his game plan.

"I had been happy to stalk Sean, and intended to have a go in the final stages, but a backmarker closed the door on me at the crucial time," the Scot sighed, "Maybe I should have made my move earlier."

Next time out, Hislop was in total command, pulling out a one second advantage lap by lap, but, when John Crawford crashed heavily at Ireland on the fifth lap, fortunately without serious injury, the race was stopped - the Flying Scot had it all to do again, but, hitting the front, he again took charge, winning by eight seconds on aggregate time from defending champion John Reynolds, aboard the Rizla Suzuki, with Emmett, the hero of the opening race, third.

Round two of the championship takes place at Brands Hatch on the 12-14 April.



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