The following press release is from MotorSport Vision Racing...Tommy Hill and Michael Laverty fully justified their "title-fighters" status in two hard fought races as the MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship entered the "Showdown" phase in the tenth round at the Croft circuit in North Yorkshire.
They each took a win and a second place amid superb front-running duelling which in terms of the overall standings gave the Worx Crescent Suzuki rider Tommy Hill the edge, 570-554 points ahead of Laverty.
Hill, who had turned his season around in the previous round at Cadwell Park, maintained that form throughout this round, consistently fast through free practice and qualifying, he had claimed his fifth pole start, but, that counted for little as he was out-gunned in each of the races by the determined Laverty.
The Relentless Suzuki by TAS rider was running ahead of Hill on a dramatic opening lap in which David Johnson crashed spectacularly, bringing out the Safety Car for two laps, but as the action resumed for real, Laverty upped the tempo, though Hill was full of fight, and he grabbed the lead on the fifth lap.
Hill rode hard, but he was unable to shake off the hard riding Laverty. "I had to work hard to keep Michael behind me," explained Hill adding "I was panicking a bit over the last few laps but I had the lead and just had to keep it consistent because I knew that Michael would be there. I was protecting my lines and just tried to keep my cool but I did what I needed to do and this win was just what we needed."
Laverty crossed the line just 0.155secs down on Hill in a race that brought little cheer for the other title-fighters with first Alastair Seeley tumbling out of ninth place at half distance and then Michael Rutter tipping out of third place at three quarters distance. Josh Brookes rode hard through set-up problems to take sixth place while his HM Plant Honda team-mate Ryuichi Kiyonari overcame a poor qualifying position to finish eleventh.
Laverty again was quickly off the mark next time out, with Stuart Easton, third in the opener on the Swan Honda, running between him and Hill, though the Worx Crescent Suzuki rider was quickly on the attack to make second place his by the sixth lap.
By then Laverty had a comfortable lead, but Hill was reeling him in and looking for a way through, and that came at the Hairpin with five laps remaining. Hill was unable to pull any advantage, with Laverty hitting back strongly and regaining the lead, en route to his second win of the season, on the penultimate lap.
"I was not going to give up and put in two hard laps to get him back, explained Laverty, adding: "I was prepared to fight-back and that brought me the win." Hill ran 0.202secs down with Easton a distant third ahead of Kiyonari who had carved through the pack from eleventh on the opening lap to deny Rutter fourth place.
James Ellison ran sixth ahead of Tommy Bridewell with Brookes eighth as Dan Linfoot and Simon Andrews completed the top ten as Seeley struggled to match the pace, finishing fifteenth and picking up a single point.
Hudson Kennaugh powered in a winning Mirror.co.uk BSB-EVO class double aboard his Splitlath Aprilia to peg back points, 356-322, on series leading Steve Brogan who finished third and second on his Jentin BMW.
For the record:
MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship, Croft, round 10:
Race one - 20 laps
1.Tommy Hill (Worx Crescent Suzuki) 27m 43.359s
2.Michael Laverty (Relentless Suzuki by TAS) +0.155s
3.Stuart Easton (Swan Honda) +10.177s
4.Simon Andrews (MSS Colchester Kawasaki) +13.512s
5.Dan Linfoot (Motorpoint Yamaha) +14.742s
6.Josh Brookes (HM Plant Honda) +15.407s
7.Loris Baz (Motorpoint Yamaha) +21.044s
8.John Laverty (Buildbase Kawasaki) +25.983s
9.Chris Walker (Sorrymate.com SMT Honda) +26.304s
10.Gary Mason (MSS Colchester Kawasaki) +26.670s
Race two - 19 laps
1.Michael Laverty (Relentless Suzuki by TAS)
2.Tommy Hill (Worx Crescent Suzuki) +0.202s
3.Stuart Easton (Swan Honda) +8.534s
4.Ryuichi Kiyonari (HM Plant Honda) +9.590s
5.Michael Rutter (Ridersmotorcycles.com Ducati) +9.833s
6.James Ellison (Swan Honda) +10.138s
7.Tommy Bridewell (Quay Garage Honda) +10.730s
8.Josh Brookes (HM Plant Honda) +11.619s
9.Dan Linfoot (Motorpoint Yamaha) +12.412s
10.Simon Andrews (MSS Colchester Kawasaki) +16.489s
1.Tommy Hill (Worx Crescent Suzuki) 570
2.Michael Laverty (Relentless Suzuki by TAS) 554
3.Ryuichi Kiyonari (HM Plant Honda) 543
4.Josh Brookes (HM Plant Honda) 542
5.Michael Rutter (Ridersmotorcycles.com Ducati) 521
6.Alastair Seeley (Relentless Suzuki by TAS) 506