Assen BSB: Wildman Waters holds off Kiyo for wet win
Assen again produced a dramatic MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship Showdown opening race with Tyco Suzuki's Josh Waters claiming the victory, but Title Fighters Shane 'Shakey' Byrne and Josh Brookes both crashed out of contention to throw the standings wide open.
The tension started before the riders even reached the grid as Milwaukee Yamaha's Josh Brookes failed to leave pitlane before it closed after an eight minute sighting lap period following rainfall just ahead of the start. A dejected Brookes had to start from the back of the grid and then as he bid to try and fight his way up the order he crashed out on the opening lap to end his hopes of salvaging vital championship points.
Title Fighter Dan Linfoot initially hit the front of the pack as they tipped into turn one for the first time with pole-sitter Christian Iddon ahead of Tommy Bridewell and Ryuichi Kiyonari. Byrne though had launched himself through the field from his fourth row start to move ahead of the chasing contenders by the start of the second lap.
Byrne held the lead from Linfoot and then Waters as he made his way through the field on the Tyco Suzuki, before the Australian split the Title Fighters on the ninth lap. Filip Backlund was in the mix at the mid-way stage as he worked his way into a potential podium position but a huge crash ended his race although he was able to walk away.
Waters moved ahead of Byrne on the eleventh lap and then Kiyonari made a move on his 'War for Four' rival to push the Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki rider back to third. It was all over for Byrne on the penultimate lap as he crashed out unhurt at high-speed, slashing his lead to seven points over Kiyonari who claimed second. The Buildbase BMW rider exchanged positions with Waters on the final lap but it wasn't enough to add to his winning tally.
Stuart Easton claimed the final podium position for the Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki team ahead of James Ellison who scored his best result since returning from injury. Pole-sitter Christian Iddon claimed fifth place ahead of Linfoot, who dropped to sixth but remained the second of the Title Fighters.
Jed Metcher claimed a top ten finish on his debut with PR Racing Kawasaki with Howie Mainwaring, Title Fighter Tommy Bridewell and Lee Jackson completing the top ten. Lloyds British GBmoto Racing Kawasaki's Title Fighter Chris Walker gambled on an intermediate Pirelli rear tyre that left him 16th.