but the leading title contenders have switched places as Alex Lowes snatched second place from Shane Byrne in the race to now have a three point lead in the MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship standings.
Lowes’ late burst of speed on the Samsung Honda not only gave him the crucial edge going into Sunday’s double race Showdown for the crown and also the psychological boost of taking pole start over the three times winner of the title Byrne.
Brookes had earlier celebrated his first pole start of the season and the Tyco Suzuki rider set a commanding pace to lead at one point by four seconds, but over the tense final laps his advantage was dramatically cut but by Lowes who reeled him in.
Lowes had ridden a hard race and charged through from sixth place on the opening lap to be running third to the Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki of Byrne over the early laps, before making a decisive move into Surtees at three quarters distance. The Samsung Honda rider then put in his fastest laps of the race in his vain pursuit of Brookes.
Lowes said: “I was a bit concerned that I could not afford to crash but I came through to be running just behind Shane and then went past him and as the track began to dry my bike felt better. There were a few times when I had a couple of slides and didn’t want to lose everything but it’s good to go into the final day leading the championship and to have pole for race two. I will be giving everything to win. One thing is for sure; I will be crying or smiling tomorrow!”
Byrne was happy enough to have taken a safe haul of points. The defending champion said: “I made a pretty good start but Josh had gone at the front and there was no staying with him. I had a good pace and when Alex came past me I thought about getting him back, but then thought I can’t afford to give away these 16 points with a crash as that is not recoverable. Now there is all to fight for, and I just hope the races are in the dry.”
Josh Waters took his best result of the season with a fourth place for Halsall Kawasaki, ahead of PJ Jacobsen’s Tyco Suzuki and Tommy Bridewell whose sixth place was some consolation for the Milwaukee Yamaha team as their other rider James Ellison saw his title dreams ended when a visor problem forced him out of the race.
1: Josh Brookes (Tyco Suzuki)
2: Alex Lowes (Samsung Honda) +0.968s
3: Shane Byrne (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki) +5.709s
4: Josh Waters (Halsall Racing Kawasaki) +16.821s
5: PJ Jacobsen (Tyco Suzuki) +22.890s
6: Tommy Bridewell (Milwaukee Yamaha) +24.345s
1: Alex Lowes (Samsung Honda) 623
2: Shane Byrne (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki) 620
3: Josh Brookes (Tyco Suzuki) 571
4: James Ellison (Milwaukee Yamaha) 562
5: James Westmoreland (Buildbase BMW) 542
6: Ryuichi Kiyonari (Samsung Honda) 522