Reigning Champion becomes most successful BSB rider ever.
New Pirelli Superbike softer rear tyre utilised by most riders to give good durability, despite abrasive surface on fast airfield circuit
Shane Byrne took a hard won double victory at Thruxton British Superbikes, to become the most successful rider ever on 44 BSB victories.
Last year at the high speed, abrasively surfaced Thruxton circuit, the two BSB races were won by riders using the SC2 harder Pirelli rear tyre (Josh Brookes and Ian Lowry). This time around Pirelli technicians were confident that the new SC1 compound ‘would last the distance’ and were vindicated as five of the six podium spots were taken using this specification.
Also of note and unbeknown at race start, Brookes and his Tyco Suzuki team gambled on the harder SC2 tyre but numerous safety car introductions did not allow him to fully maximise its attributes over race distance.
Chris Walker and Jon Kirkham featured strongly in the races utilising the harder SC2 front tyre. The choice for the majority of riders was the Diablo Superbike SC1 tyre at both front and rear.
The event was punctuated by heavy rain on Saturday with riders using full Rain tyres to good effect.
A rain hit Saturday resulted in Superbike grid positions being allocated from Friday’s free practice sessions, giving Alex Lowes pole position from PJ Jacobsen on his very first visit to the circuit. Byrne and Josh Brookes completed the front row whilst Brands Hatch winner James Ellison had a small electrical problem leaving him frustrated back in 17th on the grid.
Race day stayed remarkably dry to produce some fantastic racing but also spectacular accidents. Race one saw another characteristic holeshot from Byrne before Lowes took the lead early on the first lap. Josh Waters and Keith Farmer both suffered massive crashes with the latter causing some confusion as he was wearing a set of his teammate Byrne’s leathers!
Back at the front Byrne again lead until light rain caused the race to be paused as the pace car took control of the pack’s momentum. The last few laps then became a fantastic battle between the top three of Byrne, Lowes and Josh Brookes. On the final lap Brookes took the lead from Byrne, before being retaken into the final corner; Club Chicane.
James Ellison had a strong showing, powering from his fifth row grid position up to sixth, giving him a front row start for race two.
Race two provided a thrilling battle between Byrne, Lowes, Brookes and Ellison but unfortunately it was again punctuated by accidents, necessitating the use of the Nissan GTR pace car and ultimately a red flag to call time on proceedings.
A clearly ecstatic Byrne celebrated his 44th career win taking him above Ryuichi Kiyonari; who had a weekend to forget culminating in a big crash in race two.
Buildbase BMW continued their strong start with both Jon Kirkham and James Westmoreland sitting in the top series top six.
Pirelli Racing Manager Jason Griffiths commented, “Thruxton always provides us with a challenge and this year was certainly no different with the weather on Saturday restricting vital set up time for the teams. The new SC1 compound was used by Shane Byrne to win both races and proved its increased durability and consistency over its predecessor. Josh Brookes showed strong pace using the SC2 rear but the deployment of the safety car in both races preventing him from maximising the potential of the harder compound.”
MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship, Thruxton
Race one result:
1:Shane Byrne (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki)
2:Josh Brookes (Tyco Suzuki) +0.301s
3:Alex Lowes (Samsung Honda) +0.663s
4:James Westmoreland (Buildbase BMW) +6.415s
5:Jon Kirkham (Buildbase BMW) +6.533s
6 James Ellison (Milwaukee Yamaha) +6.778s
Race two result:
1:Shane Byrne (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki)
2:Alex Lowes (Samsung Honda) +0.245s
3:James Ellison (Milwaukee Yamaha) +0.656s
4:Josh Brookes (Tyco Suzuki) +0.757s
5:Michael Rutter (Bathams Honda) +1.819s
6:Keith Farmer (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki) +1.908
Championship standings after Thruxton:
1:Shane Byrne (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki) 91
2:Alex Lowes (Samsung Honda) 76
3:Josh Brookes (Tyco Suzuki) 66
4:James Ellison (Milwaukee Yamaha) 51
5:Jon Kirkham (Buildbase BMW) 42
6:James Westmoreland (Buildbase BMW) 27
Next round: Oulton Park – 4-6th May