Domination for Brookes as six riders secure British Superbike ‘Showdown’ places in Donington Park thriller
Josh Brookes had a perfect weekend at Donington Park today as the final line-up of British Superbike Showdown riders was decided under stunning blue skies.
Brookes took two race wins, both fastest laps and pole position in a dominant weekend for him and his Tyco Suzuki squad whilst series leader Tommy Hill seemed relatively content with a pair of podiums after struggling throughout practice.
With six riders promoted to the three round Showdown finale, Hill and Brookes are joined by Michael Laverty, Shane Byrne, Tommy Bridewell and Alex Lowes. Interestingly for the ultra-competitive series the riders come from six different teams and amazingly five separate manufacturers.
Title contender Shane Byrne sat out this round after damaging his shoulder at Cadwell Park but should be fully fit for Assen while Noriyuki Haga was upset to lose his chance after recording 21st and 12th place finishes as he rode through the pain of a recently broken collarbone.
Unseasonally good weather saw track temperatures rocket into the 40’s as grip and smooth riding became paramount. All riders used the Pirelli Diablo Superbike SC1 (softer) rear tyres with a mix of SC1 and the harder SC2 front selection. Most notable of those choosing the harder front selection were Hill, Lowes and Bridewell who prefer the very positive front end feel offered by the SC2.
Brookes was dominant throughout qualifying as he headed each session culminating in an impressive 1:30.085 ‘pole time’ in the final stage of qualifying. He and Lowes also logged the only sub 1:30 laps of the weekend through practice.
A disjointed opening Superbike race tested the nerves of the riders after dropped oil on lap 13 necessitated a full stoppage, track inspection and restart for an intense seven lap sprint. Brookes had led throughout before the restart and continued his domination after the break. Alex Lowes kept up his red hot current form circulating in second until lap ten when he was overtaken by Hill and Laverty. Ian Lowry crashed out on lap three effectively ending his hopes of reaching the Showdown phase of the series. Brookes logged the fastest time on the penultimate lap with a 1:30.264 circulation.
Race two saw an intriguing battle between Brookes and Laverty as the two traded the lead throughout the race before the relentless Antipodean again came out on top. Hill took his sixteenth podium of the season from Bridewell and Lowes. Bridewell secured his Showdown slot in race one for his series debuting Supersonic BMW squad which then gave him the opportunity to race for fourth in the second outing. Brookes took the fastest lap of the weekend with a 1:30.264 in cooler track and ambient temperatures.
The series now enters the Showdown finale at the iconic circuits of Assen, Silverstone and Brands Hatch with Hill a mere ten and twelve points in front of Brookes and Byrne with 175 points up for grabs.
In the British Supersport championship Glen Richards decimated the lap record with his Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa SC1 shod Triumph 675 to shave nearly a second off the previous lap record.
Pirelli Racing Manager Jason Griffiths commented, “A fantastic performance from Josh Brookes and Tyco Suzuki this weekend. The high track temperatures and 20 lap race distance made achieving a good machine setting vitally important, with some teams having to continue to make dramatic changes between races. The SC1 showed good durability, in fact this option was also widely used at the Nurburgring WSB round in similar high track temperatures today. We now head to Assen as ‘The Showdown’ begins, where our leading teams have all managed to arrange some private testing.
Congratulations to Pirelli riders Antonio Cairoli (MX1) and Jeffrey Herlings (MX2) on clinching their Moto Cross World Championships today and also to Kawasaki SRC on their victory in the 24 Hour Le Mans.”
MCE British Superbike Championship- Donington Park
1: Josh Brookes (Tyco Suzuki)
2: Tommy Hill (Swan Yamaha) +1.190s
3: Michael Laverty (Samsung Honda) +1.927s
4: Stuart Easton (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki) +7.517s
5: James Westmoreland (WFR Honda) +7.537s
6: Alex Lowes (WFR Honda) +7.698s
1: Josh Brookes (Tyco Suzuki)
2: Michael Laverty (Samsung Honda) +0.436s
3: Tommy Hill (Swan Yamaha) +10.302s
4: Tommy Bridewell (Supersonic BMW) +14.026s
5: Alex Lowes (WFR Honda) +14.508s
6: James Westmoreland (WFR Honda) +15.361s
1: Tommy Hill (Swan Yamaha) 535
2: Josh Brookes (Tyco Suzuki) 525
3: Shane Byrne (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki) 523
4: Michael Laverty (Samsung Honda) 514
5: Alex Lowes (WFR Honda) 502
6: Tommy Bridewell (Supersonic BMW) 500