A lap later and Byrne was up to second, out dragging Haslam down the Senna Straight to move ahead. The defending champion then had Ellison in his sight and on the fifth lap a mistake from the race leader gave Byrne the gap he needed to snatch the position and move to the front of the pack.
Byrne was being chased by Ellison but there was further disappointment for the McAMS Yamaha rider when he suffered a technical problem which forced him to retire from the race. Byrne had the advantage but behind there was a battle of the Australians as Jason O’Halloran was fending off the challenge from Brookes.
Brookes forced the Anvil Hire TAG Yamaha ahead and then held off his Honda Racing rival as he bid to close down Byrne, but at the flag it wasn’t enough to make a final strike back; however he showed his rivals he was back in business as he bids for a second crown.
O’Halloran was soon under pressure from a closing Haslam over the final laps but he managed to fend off the closing JG Speedfit Kawasaki rider to return to the podium. Haslam celebrated his return to racing action with a fourth place ahead of the second Honda Racing Fireblade of Dan Linfoot.
Jake Dixon got the better of Peter Hickman in the closing stages with John Hopkins, Bradley Ray and Sylvain Guintoli completing the top ten.
In the second race Byrne again started from the pole position, but it was Brookes that launched off the line fastest at the start to lead the pack into Riches for the first time ahead of Ellison and Byrne with Haslam holding fourth place.
Hopkins and O’Halloran though were moving through the field and the pair were soon on the back of the leading trio of Brookes, Ellison and Byrne. At the front Byrne made a move on Ellison on the ninth lap to close in on his Australian rival, but the McAMS Yamaha wasn’t going to settle behind the five-time champion. However as Ellison bid for podium contention, he crashed out unhurt at Murrays.
At the front Byrne was closing on Brookes and on lap 14 the Be Wiser Ducati rider pushed ahead on the run down to Riches, which O’Halloran repeated on Hopkins as the pair exchanged blows in the battle for third position.
Byrne was able to hold off the counter attack from Brookes to the finish to claim his first double win of the season with O’Halloran completing the first double podium for the Honda Racing team as Hopkins dropped to fifth when Jake Dixon made a last corner move on the final lap.
Hickman claimed sixth place which fired him into the Showdown six in the standings ahead of Linfoot and Haslam. Guintoli and Mossey completed the top ten, with the JG Speedfit Kawasaki rider still holding the advantage at the top of the standings ahead of Brands Hatch.
“I took my time to get to the front and then at half race distance pushed on a bit and it all panned out perfectly.
“Race two was definitely tougher as Josh (Brookes) was setting a good pace. He put the hammer down around half race distance so I made my move and obliterated my own lap record to grab the lead soon after.
“The Be Wiser Ducati team did a great job all weekend and after only getting a couple of thirds at Knockhill and with Glenn getting injured, it’s good to put the smiles back on everyone’s faces, especially ahead of my home round at Brands Hatch which is next.”