Production Pirelli tyres take lap record in red hot paced Superbike races
Alex Lowes lead every lap in a thrilling pair of MCE British Superbike races as the top six Title Fighters were decided at Donington Park. Pirelli were particularly pleased with both the outright performance and durability of their tyres with a new lap record and remarkably consistent lap times throughout race duration.
Despite substantial levels of rain during practice and use of Pirelli Diablo Rain tyres, the series kept its 100% record of dry races in the 2013 season.
For the first time this year pole position and fastest race laps were taken by a rider using a harder compound front Diablo Superbike SC2 tyre, as James Westmoreland took a maiden pole for both himself and BMW.
In the races Westmoreland, his team mate Kirkham and Peter Hickman were again the only riders to use this front tyre with the rest of the field on the softer SC1 choice.
The British Supersport class saw yet more frantic action with position changes throughout the field in both races as Stuart Easton took his Diablo Supercorsa SC V2 shod Martrain Yamaha to yet another lap record.
The event also saw some fantastic racing across the other BSB support classes (Pirelli National Superstock 1000 and 600 Championships, Ducati 848 TriOptions Challenge, Triumph Triple Challenge) all running these V2 tyres.
As the final round of the ‘Main’ season, the attention of many at Donington Park was obtaining one of the six coveted Showdown places to battle for the MCE British Superbike Championship crown at the final three events.
After stunning the paddock by taking his maiden pole position, Westmoreland was unable to stay ahead of the pack, being pushed back to tenth at the end of the first lap while Cadwell Park victor Alex Lowes grabbed the holeshot. Despite constant pressure from reigning Champion Shane Byrne, Lowes would not be troubled for the entire twenty lap race, crossing the line just 0.111s ahead of Byrne. Former MotoGP rider James Ellison took the final spot on the podium, securing his place in the Showdown, while Josh Brookes claimed fourth.
Tommy Bridewell saw his challenge to secure a place in the all important top six come to an abrupt end when his Halsall Racing Kawasaki lost power coming through the Foggy Esses, forcing his retirement. Pole man James Westmoreland was able to fight back from his poor start to finish fifth and close the gap to the final Showdown position to just four points ahead of the final race of the day. Westmoreland’s fifth place also meant that all five manufacturers in the Championship were represented in the top five positions.
Repeating the trend of recent rounds, if race one was slightly processional and tactical, the second saw riders throughout the field throw caution to the wind in a dramatic battle from start to chequered flag.
Lowes again took off in an early lead followed by Shakey, Ellison and the in-form Westmoreland. Ellison made a huge outbraking manoeuvre for the lead but went straight on at the Esses, ruling himself out of contention. On the final lap Shakey tried a similar move on Lowes and they swapped places to set up a thrilling battle which Lowes won. Bridewell took a second podium in as many rounds and Westmoreland fought through to fourth to take the final Showdown slot alongside Byrne, Lowes, Brookes, Ellison and Kiyonari.
The MCE British Superbike paddock now heads to Assen in two weeks time for the first round of the Showdown.
Pirelli Racing Manager Jason Griffiths commented, “Donington Park provided the perfect platform to prepare for the Showdown. Friday’s heavy rain provided us with a challenge as the track was ‘green’ on Saturday morning. To end the weekend with new lap records in the Superbike and Supersport classes is fantastic. Both Alex and Shakey ran low 29’s during the last few laps of race two highlighting the performance of the SC1 solution.”
MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship, Brands Hatch GP
Race one result:
1. Alex Lowes (Samsung Honda)
2. Shane Byrne (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki) +0.111s
3. James Ellison (Milwaukee Yamaha) +0.521s
4. Josh Brookes (Tyco Suzuki) +6.866s
5. James Westmoreland (Buildbase BMW) +11.628s
6. Jon Kirkham (Buildbase BMW) +18.210s
7. Chris Walker (Quattro Plant Bournemouth Kawasaki) +19.873s
8. Jakub Smrz (Padgetts Honda) +20.435s
9. PJ Jacobsen (Tyco Suzuki) +23.489s
10. Barry Burrell (Quattro Plant Bournemouth Kawasaki) +28.550s
Race two result:
1. Alex Lowes (Samsung Honda)
2. Shane Byrne (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki) +0.058s
3. Tommy Bridewell (Halsall Racing Kawasaki) +2.327s
4. James Westmoreland (Buildbase BMW) +3.667s
5. Josh Brookes (Tyco Suzuki) +4.494s
6. James Ellison (Milwaukee Yamaha) +9.365s
7. Jon Kirkham (Buildbase BMW) +15.597s
8. Chris Walker (Quattro Plant Bournemouth Kawasaki) +20.645s
9. PJ Jacobsen (Tyco Suzuki) +21.048s
10. Jakub Smrz (Padgetts Honda) +21.350s
Championship standings: (Points equalled to 500 and Podium Credits added)
1. Shane Byrne (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki) 539
2. Alex Lowes (Samsung Honda) 533
3. Josh Brookes (Tyco Suzuki) 522
4. James Ellison (Milwaukee Yamaha) 513
5. Ryuichi Kiyonari (Samsung Honda) 504
6. James Westmoreland (Buildbase BMW) 500
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