Stuart Easton proved his return to form at Oulton Park last weekend to claim his first British Superbike Championship race win since 2010 and fire himself up to fourth in the overall standings.
Easton had scored his first podium finish of the season at the Donington Park season opener, but the PBM Kawasaki rider's confidence has continued to grow and after qualifying on the front row for the opening race, he was ready to come out fighting in the Bank Holiday races.
In the opening race the Scot narrowly missed out on the podium in fourth but in race two he came back even stronger to battle with Ryuichi Kiyonari and team-mate Shane 'Shakey' Byrne for the win. As both Kiyonari and Byrne crashed out, Easton kept his focus, holding off the attack from both James Ellison and Josh Brookes to claim his first win of the season.
Easton said: "The test was good for me the week before the event and I think that put us in an even better position going into the race weekend. I was hoping after that we could be competitive at the sharp end and for qualifying I was definitely aiming to be on the first two rows, so to get P3 was perfect. Then when I came back in I was a bit disappointed as it was so close to pole!
"My expectations went up ready for raceday after that but the first race was a tough one. I made a mistake on the opening lap and had a bit of a slide on the exit after the first turn and then before I knew it I had Shakey and Josh [Brookes] on either side of me. That shuffled me back to fourth, although that's where I ended up staying, but the pace was pretty fast and under the lap record so I just felt happy to have been able to run that and be competitive, especially as I was on the back of Shakey for the whole race.
"Race two was when we got to have the champagne and that was my target after race one. I had been running third for most of it and I felt stronger as the race went on. I put a move on Shakey and then he got me back, them he got Kiyo. Kiyo was stronger I different areas of the track and he is such a good rider that he is hard to pass. It was frustrating at the time but in hindsight it was a good thing as otherwise it could have been me!
"I saw him go to make his move on Shakey and I thought he was just going to run on which would have made it a PBM one-two but it wasn't to be last weekend. I had to ride really defensively on the final lap, but the pace was still good and I think that's what I was most happy about.
"It was good for me to be competitive and I feel that we have been all season, it just showed more at Oulton Park. I feel really positive now about the next events, although Snetterton has been unlucky for me in the past. I think the happiness I had last weekend was from being able to push the front guys and really challenge them. It could have been any one of the six of us who could have won that race and hopefully we can do it again before too long."