John Crockford served notice of his championship aspirations at Silverstone on Sunday by leading the Supersport race on his Padgett's Honda, before having to settle for second place when the race was red flagged.

The Southampton rider was comfortably holding station behind Honda works rider Karl Harris when an oil spill caused the race to be stopped on lap 16 of 20.

"It looked like Karl was starting to struggle with his tyres and I was pretty confident I would be in good shape to get past in the final laps," said 2002 Superstock runner up Crockford. "Karl had dominated qualifying, while we had concentrated on our race set-up; then just as it looked like it was going to pay off - the red flags came out!

"Considering it's their first year in Supersport, the team have done a tremendous job in producing a bike that can compete for a win first time out," added John.

Crockford's team-mate Adrian Coates saw his ambitions for a top three place dashed by the early finish. The Ulsterman was secure in fifth and rapidly catching the leading group when the flags came out. Coates' determined progress from the third row on the grid earned the 2001 British 250 Champion the "Man of the Race" accolade from Sky commentator Keith Huewen.

"We made some changes to the bike yesterday which really helped the tyres, so it's disappointing to miss out on the laps where I would have benefited most," said Coates. "The Supersport class is incredibly competitive this year and we've got as much to learn as anybody. To be in the top five in my first 600 race is a great start to the year."

Team manager Clive Padgett was understandably delighted with the first outing for the new team.

"We've had to pull out all the stops to get the bikes ready in time. To have them both finish in the top five, and to have actually lead, is a great reward for all the hard work and effort put in by the team and our suppliers," enthused Padgett. "Adrian and John have both won races, and now we've shown the bikes are as quick as anyone else's. I'm looking forward to going to each of the next 11 rounds knowing that we will be racing to win."

 

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