Tommy Hill was in devastating form in an incident packed MCE British Superbike Championship round at Knockhill, Scotland as he got the most out of his Swan Yamaha and Pirelli tyres in both dry and torrential conditions. Tommy captured pole position in heavy rain and then took two dry race wins to ease himself back into Championship contention after two difficult previous events.
Immediately after beating Shane Byrne in a classic race two battle, an ecstatic Tommy declared, “To take the double win is fantastic for us, as soon as the chequered flag comes down my shoulder starts hurting but whilst you’re out there you almost forget about it! It was a good little battle out there with Shakey, he’s so hard to pass so I knew I had to do it going into the hairpin, as he gets the bike up and on the gas so strong coming out. I had loads of confidence in the front, the tyre felt mint, a bit of movement towards the end but really consistent.”
All riders used Pirelli Diablo Rain tyres throughout practice and qualifying as the mountainside circuit was subjected to continued heavy rain but incredibly despite other wet races, the two blue riband Superbike legs were held on bone dry tarmac. This allowed Tommy and others to get near lap record pace on the ‘slick’ Pirelli Diablo Superbike tyres.
Tommy Hill took pole position for Swan Yamaha from first time Knockhill visitor John Hopkins, in a frantic three stage qualifying session held in torrential rain.
Race one saw the sun appear for the first time all weekend and a determined holeshot from Tommy as he streaked into the lead to eventually take an incredible nine second win. Gary Mason continued his strong form through qualifying to hold second then third for most of the race before being demoted to fourth.
Shane Byrne stormed through from ninth after a qualifying crash on the grid to third place behind Hopkins. Shakey logged his fastest circuit on lap 27 as he and Tommy utilised the harder Pirelli Diablo Superbike SC2 front tyres for front end confidence until race end.
With more rain, racegoers expected a wet second leg but somehow the track dried quickly for an epic battle unaffected by weather. Tommy traded blows with Shakey through the race after John Hopkins became one of a number of victims of the steep downhill Leslies first turn.
Tommy eventually broke Shakey for a second victory with his Swan teammate Michael Laverty following Byrne closely over the line for third. Tommy also took his fastest lap right at the end of the race on lap 26 of 30.
In the Supersport 600 class Ben Wilson extended his Championship lead and smashed the circuit lap record by half a second in far from ideal conditions and in a class with spec ECU’s for this year. Wilson set his best lap on the penultimate lap showing the durability of the Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa production tyres. This year has seen the introduction of the new 180/60 ZR17size rear tyres to great acclaim.
Jason Griffiths, Pirelli Racing Manager commented, “We thought the weekend was going to be all about the Pirelli Diablo Rain tyres with some heroic performances in treacherous conditions through practice. However the fans were lucky to see dry weather battles as Tommy made his mark back on the series to move into third. We were particularly pleased to see the Superbike slicks complete their fastest race laps at the very end of both legs and again in Supersport showing the durability of both the Pirelli Diablo Superbike and Supercorsa tyres.”
The new Pirelli World Superbike spec tyres are available for all competitors and trackday customers in 2011. The new compounds of the Pirelli Diablo Superbike tyres come with SC1 and SC2 front options and SC0 and SC1 rear, with ‘0’ being the softest and ‘2’ the hardest solutions. The tyres are designed for increased durability and continued high grip performance.
MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship, Knockhill, race one result:
1. Tommy Hill (Swan Yamaha)
2. John Hopkins (Samsung Crescent Racing Suzuki) +8.907s
3. Shane Byrne (HM Plant Honda) +9.123s
4. Gary Mason (MSS Colchester Kawasaki) +15.354s
5. Josh Brookes (Relentless Suzuki) +21.816s
6. Michael Laverty (Swan Yamaha) +21.823s
7. James Westmoreland (Motorpoint Yamaha) +24.920s
8. Jon Kirkham (Samsung Crescent Racing Suzuki) +26.558s
9. Loris Baz (Motorpoint Yamaha) +26.665s
10. Ryuichi Kiyonari (HM Plant Honda) +26.925s
MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship, Knockhill, race two result:
1. Tommy Hill (Swan Yamaha)
2. Shane Byrne (HM Plant Honda) +2.464s
3. Michael Laverty (Swan Yamaha) +2.728s
4. Ryuichi Kiyonari (HM Plant Honda) +10.983s
5. James Westmoreland (Motorpoint Yamaha) +17.370s
6. Gary Mason (MSS Colchester Kawasaki) +18.557s
7. Chris Walker (Pr1mo Racing Kawasaki) +19.955s
8. Peter Hickman (Tyco Honda) +20.201s
9. Michael Rutter (Rapid Solicitors-Bathams Ducati) +21.351s
10. Simon Andrews (Buy-Force.com Kawasaki) +23.787s
MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship standings after Knockhill:
1.Shane Byrne (HM Plant Honda) 172
2.John Hopkins (Samsung Crescent Racing) 141
3.Tommy Hill (Swan Yamaha) 120
4.Michael Laverty (Swan Yamaha) 95
5.Stuart Easton (MSS Colchester Kawasaki) 89
6.Ryuichi Kiyonari (HM Plant Honda) 84
2011 MCE British Superbike Championship calendar:
Apr 22-25 Brands Hatch*
Apr 30-May 2 Oulton Park*
May 13-15 Croft
May 28-30 Thruxton*
June 17-19 Knockhill
July 1-3 Snetterton 300
July 15-17 Oulton Park
Aug 5-7 Brands Hatch GP
Aug 27-29 Cadwell Park*
Sept 9-11 Donington Park
Sept 23-25 Silverstone Arena GP
Oct 7-9 Brands Hatch
* = Bank Holiday weekend
More information regarding Pirelli’s entire range of racing and road tyres can be found at www.pirellimoto.co.uk
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