Tyre choice was critical at Silverstone British Superbikes today as Alex Lowes selected the harder compound Pirelli rear tyre to take an incredible double win and become the eighth different winner in this ultra competitive season.
Lowes and his WFR Honda squad seemed confident throughout the weekend in their machine set-up using the harder Pirelli Diablo Superbike SC2 rear tyre to great effect as the young rider cruised to victory in race one, before pulling off an audacious last lap move on Shane Byrne in the second outing.
Byrne retook the series lead despite a spectacular accident in practice and now leads the series by nine points from Josh Brookes, with in-form man Lowes a further fifteen behind, teeing up a nailbiting finale at Brands Hatch in a fortnights time.
The 22 year old Lowes said after his first and second BSB victories “I really enjoyed it out there and I’m over the moon with the wins. The bike was perfect and it worked really well with the harder Pirelli tyre, which I knew by race two would have the grip to the end. Ten years ago I was watching my hero Shakey Byrne doing the double in WSB and now I’ve pulled a cheeky move on him to do the same here!”
Lowes set out his stall early as he topped each free practice in both wet and dry conditions, before taking the pole position with a fastest lap of the event with a 2:05.662 circulation. Byrne entered the weekend as series leader but inexplicably crashed heavily on his very first lap on Friday before recovering his composure on Saturday to qualify fifth.
Race one was red hot despite chilly 15 degree track temperatures, as Michael Laverty took the holeshot, before Lowes pounced for the lead on lap three. Byrne looked ominous dicing for the lead with Lowes before running on into a corner, losing vital seconds and several places which he then had to fight to regain. Josh Brookes yo-yo’ed in the pack between second and sixth, eventually forcing his way past James Westmoreland and Tommy Bridewell, with the latter having setting the fastest lap of the race at 2:07.940. Lowes went on to take his first victory controlling the race from the front as his harder rear Pirelli allowed him to push right until the end of the race. He kept a steady five second gap to Byrne who made a committed move on Michael Laverty on the final lap.
Race two was even more exciting especially in the closing stages as Brookes joined the fight at the front end. After selecting the softer Pirelli SC1 slick in the opener he chose the harder rear tyre emulating Lowes’ decision and finished third, half a second behind Lowes and Byrne. The lead changed hands many times with Laverty featuring early in the race before Lowes, Byrne and Brookes took over at the front. Lowes logged the fastest race lap with a 2:07.652 circulation to complete a perfect weekend for the young Lincolnshire rider.
Pirelli Racing Manager Jason Griffiths commented, “Congratulations to Alex and the whole WFR squad for their first BSB victories and helping provide some of the best racing we’ve ever seen. As in Assen the squad worked hard to get the optimum performance from the SC2 rear tyre in colder conditions on an abrasive track and reaped the benefits. Josh Brookes changed to the SC2 rear for the second race and was able to challenge for the win. The combination of Shane Byrne & his PBM Kawasaki were able to fight for victory with the SC1 rear, the differing tyre choices adding an extra dimension to both the races.”
MCE British Superbike Championship in Association with Pirelli
Silverstone Race Results
Race one result:
- Alex Lowes (WFR Honda)
- Shane Byrne (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki) +5.021s
- Michael Laverty (Samsung Honda) +5.451s
- Josh Brookes (Tyco Suzuki) +8.437s
- James Westmoreland (WFR Honda) +8.716s
- Tommy Bridewell (Supersonic BMW) +9.493s
- Tommy Hill (Swan Yamaha) +11.882s
- Luca Scassa (Padgetts Honda) +13.893s
- Ian Lowry (Padgetts Honda) +14.124s
10. Chris Walker (Pr1mo Bournemouth Kawasaki) +19.507s
Race two result:
- Alex Lowes (WFR Honda)
- Shane Byrne (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki) +0.042s
- Josh Brookes (Tyco Suzuki) +0.516s
- Tommy Bridewell (Supersonic BMW) +4.125s
- Michael Laverty (Samsung Honda) +5.332s
- Luca Scassa (Padgetts Honda) +9.726s
- Tommy Hill (Swan Yamaha) +10.638s
- Chris Walker (Pr1mo Bournemouth Kawasaki) +11.126s
- James Westmoreland (WFR Honda) +16.722s
10. Peter Hickman (Buildbase BMW) +18.791s
2012 Championship standings:
1: Shane Byrne (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki) 608
2: Josh Brookes (Tyco Suzuki) 599
3: Alex Lowes (WFR Honda) 584
4: Tommy Hill (Swan Yamaha) 566
5: Michael Laverty (Samsung Honda) 559
6: Tommy Bridewell (Supersonic BMW) 544
More information regarding Pirelli’s entire range of racing and road tyres can be found at www.pirelli.co.uk/moto