Motorcycling: Walker closes up in Superbike battle

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CHRIS WALKER showed his true potential at Donington Park yesterday with two superb performances that bring him to within a point of the series lead of the British Superbike Championship. The Team Kawasaki rider was second in race one and fourth in race two, which puts him on 167 points - just one behind the leader, the Australian Troy Bayliss.

The first race was incident- packed, with all nine factory riders going round inside lap record pace. Walker, who had qualified on pole, made another great start and was involved in a race-long battle with Suzuki's James Haydon, swapping the lead several times before tangling with backmarkers, which allowed Haydon to pip him to the line by 0.189sec. Behind them, Kawasaki's Steve Hislop was involved in a battle with John Reynolds and Bayliss, which ended on the penultimate lap when all three collided.

Any one of five riders could have won the second race, with the lead changing several times a lap, and the top five were separated by less than 0.6sec at the flag. The race was won by Reynolds, with Walker finishing in fourth, only 0.196sec behind. The Kawasaki team manager, Simon Buckmaster, said: "That was a fantastic performance by Chris, he has shown aggression and courage in equal measures. It also shows that consistency can win championships.

"Chris has finished in the top four in every race so far this year and it's only a matter of time before our first win. Roll on Silverstone."