Josh Brookes has stormed to victory in the opening MCE British Superbike race of the weekend, while Alex Lowes stole the championship lead from Shakey Byrne as he took second and demoted his title rival back to third.
Brookes led from the line, starting from pole position and clearing off to lead by 2 seconds almost immediately. Byrne was left to battle with Josh Waters, while Lowes was back in fifth behind Lee Costello on the second Halsall Kawasaki.
However, by lap three Lowes had dispatched both and was able to settle into a rhythm behind Brookes and Byrne, with Waters managing to maintain contact in fourth.
Lowes never lost his pace behind Byrne, and by half distance he was able to slide past the Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki rider for second. He then put in a monumental effort in the closing stages of the race to pull in Brookes, but was still a second back from the Australian at the flag.
With Byrne in third, Josh Waters held off PJ Jacobsen for the pair to take fourth and fifth, ahead of a late-charging Tommy Bridewell in sixth.
James Ellison had yet another mechanical problem, having moved form sixteenth to eighth when he was forced into the pits, costing him third in the championship to Brookes.
Alex Lowes now leads Shane Byrne by three points in the battle for the crown, and will start tomorrow's first race from pole position.