Laverty and Hill win at Snetterton

Michael Laverty claimed his first MCE Insurance British Superbike victory of the season in race two at Snetterton to kick his title challenge into life.

The Samsung Honda not only recorded his first podium of the year with a second-place in finish in race one but also set the fastest lap to begin race two in pole position.

And Laverty made the most of it as he led from start to finish for a comfortable victory, Shane Byrne and Josh Brookes completing the podium in second and third respectively.

With leader heading into race two Tommy Hill failing to finish the race, Brookes’ third was enough to take him to the top of the standings by just a point.

Byrne sits in third on 108 points but with 45 points from a possible 50 at Snetterton Laverty has propelled himself into the reckoning and sits fourth on 81.

After Laverty, Hill and Brookes had dominated race one, the second race started in similar fashion as they once again broke away into a front three early on, Byrne also in the mix.

But things went from good to bad for Swan Yamaha as first Noriyuki Haga, who finished fifth in race one, crashed out and then Hill was forced to retire, neither managing to last even half of the 16 laps.

Tommy Bridewell on his Supersonic BMW crashed out on lap six to blow open the battle for a podium finish, with Ian Lowry and Alex Lowes battling Brookes for third.

But the Australian was having none of it and upped his game to momentarily challenge Byrne for second but the Rapid Solicitor’s Kawasaki rider held him off.

There was no such trouble for Laverty at the front though as he took the chequered flag with ease for his first race win of 2012, the seventh rider to taste victory this season.

RACE ONE:

Defending champion Tommy Hill extended his lead atop the MCE Insurance British Superbike standings as he raced to victory in race one at Snetterton.

With six winners from the first six races, early signs suggest this year’s fight for the British Superbike title is going to be just as tight as last year’s.

But Swan Yamaha’s Hill showed he is not about to let go of the trophy without a fight as he became the first rider this year to record two race wins, following on from his victory at Oulton Park.

Completing the podium were Samsung Honda’s Michael Laverty in second, his first top-three finish of the season, with Josh Brookes third on his Tyco Suzuki.

Laverty’s first podium finish propelled him up to sixth in the overall standings on 56 points but second-place Brookes is now 15 points behind Hill who moved on to 123.

There wasn’t much to separate Brookes and Laverty in qualifying, with the Australian taking pole position by just 0.001 seconds.

But Samsung Honda’s Laverty made up for that narrow disappointment as he overtook Brookes on the first corner to take an early lead.

Graeme Gowland was looking to turn his promising third on the starting grid into a positive result but after a poor start, which saw him fall back to eighth midway through lap one, the WFR Honda rider exited the race on lap three.

And there was more disappointment for Jon Kirkham who was looking to put a nasty crash in race one at Oulton Park behind him, the Samsung Honda rider falling on lap one.

There was no such trouble for team-mate Laverty though who momentarily lost the lead to reigning champion Hill on lap six only to retake first place just a corner later.

However the signs were there and on lap seven Swan Yamaha’s Hill went into first place and Laverty was momentarily pushed down into third by Brookes before a mistake by the Australian allowed him back into second.

The front three began to break away as they duelled it out for victory, Hill leading the way while Brookes and Laverty continued their weekend battle by swapping between second and third position, with Alex Lowes doing his best to close the gap in fourth.

But as the race wound down there was no catching Hill who left Brookes and Laverty behind to top the podium for the season time this season.

And there was more excitement to come as a mistake by Lowes on the final corner allowed Swan Yamaha’s Noriyuki Haga to pip him into fourth.

Results:

1. Tommy Hill - Swan Yamaha YZF-R1 29:22.601

2. Michael Laverty - Samsung Honda CBR1000RR +1.234

3. Josh Brookes - Tyco Suzuki GSX-R1000 +6.847

4. Noriyuki Haga - Swan Yamaha YZF-R1 +10.304

5. Alex Lowes - WFR Honda CBR1000RR +10.333

6. Tommy Bridewell - Supersonic BMW S1000RR +16.360

7. Chris Walker - Pr1mo BKR Kawasaki ZX-10R +20.503

8. Ian Lowry - Padgetts Honda CBR1000RR +20.524

9. Patric Muff - Supersonic BMW S1000RR +20.692

10. Barry Burrell - Buildbase BMW S1000RR +21.674

11. Dan Linfoot - Buildbase BMW S1000RR +24.084

12. James Westmoreland - WFR Honda CBR1000RR +29.574

13. Luke Quigley - GBmoto Honda CBR1000RR +30.387

14. Michael Rutter - MSS Bathams Kawasaki ZX-10R +37.855

15. Tristan Palmer - GBmoto Honda CBR1000RR +41.875