James Ellison was thrilled to get his final Bennetts British Superbike campaign off to a strong start with a podium in his first race with the Anvil Hire TAG Racing team.
The Cumbrian took an early lead on the YZF-R1 and remained in touch with young gun Bradley Ray throughout the race.
Planning a last lap attack, he was only thwarted when reigning champion Shane Byrne stuck it up the inside at Melbourne loop to rob him of both second place and the chance to attack the Suzuki for the win.
“It was just the start I wanted!” he said after the race.
“The pace was good at the front, but when I kept seeing plus zero on my board I thought I was holding people up so I was kind of glad when Bradley came past and was running a similar pace.
“I held in behind him, he was riding really well but just towards the end I think he was getting a bit excited coming up to his first race win, the leg was coming out every corner, he was losing the rear, losing the front so I thought ‘he’s desperate for this, I can take advantage!’
“He was really strong going into the Foggy esses, so I wanted to attack going into the Melbourne loop which seemed to be his weakest point. He stuck his leg out and went to the inside but then all of a sudden there was a big Ducati which appeared out of nowhere. I was a little disappointed not to have a challenge with Brad at the end of the race but he put a great race together.
“To get a podium first time out with the Anvil Hire TAG Racing team, I’m quite happy with that!”