In front of a bumper crowd of 20,000 fans, JR took seventh in the opening race after being in contention for the podium for most of the 30-laps. In race two he forced himself to be more aggressive and was running comfortably in fourth and challenging for third until getting tangled with back-makers. He brought his Rizla Suzuki home sixth for a new season personal best result.
Rizla Suzuki ace James Haydon crashed out of fourth early in the opening race. In the second event he started on his spare bike and suffered brake problems from the outset, dropping to 12th before showing his fighting spirit and climbing back to eighth by the chequered flag. Honda's Ryuichi Kiyonari won both races.
You can catch highlights of today's Superbike race action on Channel 4 next Sunday morning. JR celebrates his 40th birthday tomorrow before going straight back to work when Rizla Suzuki travels to Croft in North Yorkshire for a Dunlop tyre test on Tuesday, June 28th. The eighth round of the BSB Championship takes place at Snetterton in Norfolk on Sunday, July 10th.
"I am proving that no matter who you are, even if you are the champion, you cannot afford to take eight months off from racing and expect to return and win races straight away. It just isn't possible when you are racing some of the best riders in the world.
"The good news is that I am on the comeback trail and have made enormous progress this weekend. I'm still not as sharp as I would like to be but that is coming back quickly - from race one to two there was a noticeable improvement. My Rizla Suzuki is great, the team has supported me through thick and thin and now we are close to getting the results we deserve. I think it could all come good at Snetterton and that's what I am aiming for."
"In race one I ran into Butchers corner a bit hot and lost the front end while in fourth. That was really frustrating as my Rizla Suzuki felt great and I was up for a fight.
"Right from the start in race two my front brakes were not as consistent or powerful as I was used to in the first race. It took me several laps to gauge the braking power and distance and by then was back in 12th. Once I got going I was able to move up through the field and post fast lap times, which is encouraging. I think we have made good progress with my Rizla Suzuki this weekend - roll on Snetterton."
Dave Marton; Technical Support:
"Rizla Suzuki goes to Croft for a single day Dunlop test on Tuesday in a positive mood. JR is coming back to form and in race two today he was consistently fast lap after lap and showed great aggression. More time on his bike is what he needs and that will sharpen him up for the second half of the season.
"James made enormous progress throughout the weekend and is showing an incredible turn of speed on his Rizla Suzuki. At the Croft test James will have more track time to acquaint himself with the bike and that will pay dividends.
"Overall an impressive effort from both riders and the team - and our best results of the season to date when you look at the meeting as a whole. We are closer to the front-runners than at any other time this year and the momentum is now moving forward. We'll be looking for a similar step up in performance when we race at Snetterton in two week's time."
Race One Result: 1: Ryuichi Kiyonari (Honda) 25:04.260, 2: Michael Rutter (Honda) +12.538, 3: Michael Laverty (Honda) +24.692, 4: Glen Richards (Kawasaki) +26.361, 5: Leon Haslam (Ducati) +26.732, 6: Gregorio Lavilla (Ducati) +27.393, 7: JOHN REYNOLDS (RIZLA SUZUKI) +30.496, 8: Karl Harris (Honda) +38.125, 9: Gary Mason (Honda) +40.659, 10: Dean Thomas (Kawasaki) +41.473, JAMES HAYDON (RIZLA SUZUKI) DNF.
Race Two Result: 1: Kiyonari 25:06.287, 2: Rutter +7.122, 3: Lavilla +15.522, 4: Laverty +16.690, 5: Haslam +17.473, 6: JOHN REYNOLDS (RIZLA SUZUKI) +19.148, 7: Richards +21.524, 8: JAMES HAYDON (RIZLA SUZUKI) +25.697, 9: Jonathan Rea (Honda) +26.633, 10: Thomas +27.074.
Championship Positions after seven rounds: 1: Rutter 275, 2: Kiyonari 232, 3: Lavilla 216, 4: Richards 160, 5: Haslam 152, 6: Harris 115, 7: Thomas 97, 8: Laverty 93, 9: Mason 82, 10: Sean Emmett (Yamaha) 79, 13: JAMES HAYDON (RIZLA SUZUKI) 43, 14: JOHN REYNOLDS (RIZLA SUZUKI) 39.