Dean Thomas set a new lap record and finished in second place in his first outing for Team Vitrans Honda at the fourth round British Supersport encounter, won by fellow Honda rider Karl Harris at Oulton Park Monday.

Thomas's team-mate, Michael Laverty, was an impressive fifth after starting the race from the back of the grid.

Australian Thomas signed for the Edinburgh-based team last week and was up to speed immediately, putting the new Honda CBR600RR in second place on the Oulton Park grid. Laverty qualified fifth fastest but, after missing the sighting lap due to a trapped fuel pipe, was forced to start in last place for the 16-lapper around the 2.7-mile Cheshire circuit.

"I had a clutch problem during the race," said Thomas afterwards, "and, although I tried hard to catch Harris, I couldn't do it - this time. It was an excellent race and the lap record was a nice bonus. With another test day before Knockhill, we should have a perfect setting."

"I'm just happy to be in such a good team," added Thomas, "it's well structured and we should be winning. I know I've made the right move."

Laverty, winner of the second round race at Snetterton, was pleased with what team boss, Robbie Burns, called 'the best race of his career'.

"I made a good start but spent too much time behind slower riders," said Laverty, "I ended up the same distance behind Harris as I was on lap three, but had to pass everyone to get there! If I'd started where I was supposed to, in fifth, I'd have definitely been on the rostrum."



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