Glenn Irwin shrugged off a practice crash on Saturday at Donington Park to claim sixth place in the first race of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship.
With the threat of poor weather hanging over the event on Easter Monday, the organisers took the decision to bring race one forward in a schedule reshuffle.
The race distance was also cut from 20 laps to 18 after concerns were raised about low track temperatures.
Carrickfergus man Irwin, who qualified in 10th place on the PBM Be Wiser Ducati, rode a steady race on the Panigale R as he picked up a few places in the final stages of the race to slot into the top six.
The 28-year-old suffered a scare on Saturday when he was caught out by the damp conditions at Goddards in FP1.
Irwin was high-sided from his machine and was initially told he had suffered a broken neck.
However, it later transpired to be an old injury sustained in a crash last season at Knockhill in Scotland.
Irwin said: “After the crash in practice, standing here now with a sixth-place finish is very pleasing, particularly with how I rode in the race.
“I had a small problem off the line with the clutch but other than that the race went really well, and I had no problems at all with my injuries, so I’ve got to say a big thank you to the medics for looking after me so well.
“I made some good moves forward throughout the race and no-one overtook me and whilst I can make some improvements to both myself and the bike, we’re in a good position for tomorrow’s race.”
Young gun Bradley Ray won the race on the Buildbase Suzuki after leading for the majority of the 18 laps.
Ray came under pressure from James Ellison (Anvil Hire TAG Yamaha) and Shane Byrne (PBM Be Wiser Ducati) on the final laps, but he kept his nerve to close out his maiden BSB win by 0.383s from Byrne, who edged past Ellison for the runner-up spot.
Honda Racing’s Dan Linfoot and Luke Mossey on the JG Speedfit Kawasaki were next ahead of Irwin, who was the first Northern Ireland rider over the line.
Tyco BMW’s Michael Laverty finished 10th with team-mate Christian Iddon in 14th.
Lisburn’s Carl Phillips, making his BSB debut on the Gearlink Kawasaki, was 24th, while William Dunlop brought the Temple Golf Club Yamaha home in 27th position.
Dunlop is competing in the opening BSB rounds as part of his preparations for the international road races.
The second race is scheduled to take place on Monday afternoon at 4:30pm.
Earlier, Josh Elliott (Morello Kawasaki) finished as the runner-up in the first Pirelli National Superstock 1000 race ahead of Tyco BMW’s Keith Farmer, with Alastair Seeley taking fifth on the WD40 Kawasaki.
Clogher man Farmer claimed the runner-up spot in race two behind Billy McConnell (Buildbase Suzuki), who notched a double.
Elliott was third with Seeley again crossing the line in fifth.
Manxman Dan Kneen was seventh and fourth on the Tyco BMW as he gains some track time ahead of the North West 200 and Isle of Man TT.
Eglinton’s David Allingham was seventh in the Dickies British Supersport race, which was won by Ben Currie (Gearlink Kawasaki). Robert Kennedy finished in ninth.
Aghadowey’s Eunan McGlinchey clinched a magnificent win in the Junior Supersport race by only 0.004s from Edmund Best.
In the first ever British Talent Cup race, Scott Swann finished in seventh place.