The MCE British Superbike Championship kicked off in exciting fashion at Brands Hatch in a crash strewn wet qualifying before Byrne showed his class to dominate the two feature races.
Brands Hatch marked the debut of the 17” tyres at MCE British Superbikes as both wets and slick Pirelli DIABLO™ tyres were used over a mixed weather weekend.
Full Rain tyres were used throughout the three stage qualifying session as cold conditions and heavy rain gave riders a difficult time around this cambered oval in the Kent countryside.
In the dry free practice sessions, teams experimented with the new slick SC0 and the harder SC1 rear tyre to ascertain the best choice for full race duration. In the event of the two Superbike races, the two Tyco Suzuki riders (John Hopkins and Josh Waters – SC1 in race two), GBmoto Kawasaki (James Ellison and Chris Walker) and Simon Andrews used the softer tyre, all to seemingly good effect. However Byrne and Brookes preferred the ‘feeling‘ of the harder tyre and in the longer final race (race one was restarted) these two reigned supreme.
At the front end, the majority of the field choose the softer SC1 tyre with the exception of Michael Rutter and Ben Wilson.
For the Pirelli team onsite and in Milan it was heartening to see the fast times and race duration consistency shown by these new 17” tyres and interesting to note that both the soft and harder options were utilised to good effect, giving two viable options for riders at different circuits.
Fast times and new lap records across the support classes showed the ongoing confidence of the vast paddock in the Pirelli DIABLO™ Supercorsa SC V2 tyres. Classes running on these road based treaded tyres are the Pirelli National Superstock 1000 and 600 Championships, Ducati 848 TriOptions Cup and TriStar Triple Challenge.
After dominating dry practice, Byrne and many other riders were caught out by the torrential rain that hit the circuit during qualifying. A large percentage of the grid crashed as they tried to post times through the three stage process held in atrocious conditions. Somehow, despite three accidents, Josh Brookes took pole position from a resurgent Ryuichi Kiyonari and John Hopkins, who had both also fallen. An unlucky Byrne qualified in an uncharacteristic 13th place putting him on the fifth row of the grid.
After such heavy rain, raceday remained clear with good weather to the relief of riders, organisers and fans. Brookes set off from the front but was quickly overtaken by Chris Walker, setting off a great battle between the pair, before the Australian crashed out at Druids. Meanwhile, Byrne had methodically made his way up through the pack to challenge Walker before a rider deposited oil necessitating a red flag stoppage.
After a lengthy clean up operation Walker got a customary lightning ‘Stalker’ start before this time duelling with Byrne. Shakey got to the front and was not to be headed to take the win from Walker, Ellison and Ben Wilson to give a Kawasaki top four.
The second Superbike race saw Shakey took the holeshot with his likeable teammate Stuart Eaton riding shotgun in front of Ellison. This became a six way battle as Kiyonari and Brookes (from a lowly fourth row of the grid) joined the fray. Brookes then scythed his way through to finish just tenths from Shakey at the flag with Ellison in third.
In the Pirelli Superstock 1000 class Danny Buchan took the win for Tsingtao Kawasaki while Josh Elliott set an incredibly fast new lap record of 46.385 on treaded
SupercorsaSC tyres, which would have been the fourth fastest time in the first Superbike race!
Pirelli UK Racing Manager Jason Griffiths commented, “The Brands Hatch weekend provided a real mix of conditions and varying track temperatures. We’re very pleased with the introduction of the 17 inch range and it was interesting to watch the performance of the SC0 & SC1 compounds as both options were used by leading riders. Congratulations also to Jayson Uribe on his debut podium in the Moto 3 class using the DIABLO™ Superbike SC1 compound. We look forward to the next round at Oulton Park which is of course a very different sort of circuit.”
MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship, Brands Hatch (Indy)
Race one result:
- 1.Shane Byrne (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki)
- 2.Chris Walker (Lloyds British GBmoto Racing Kawasaki) +1.615s
- 3.James Ellison (Lloyds British GBmoto Racing Kawasaki) +1.672s
- 4.Ben Wilson (Gearlink Kawasaki) +5.639s
- 5.John Hopkins (Tyco Suzuki) +6.007s
- 6.Stuart Easton (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki) +6.235s
- 7.Tommy Bridewell (Milwaukee Yamaha) +6.365s
- 8.Richard Cooper (Anvil Hire TAG Kawasaki) +7.328s
- 9.Jakub Smrz (Millsport Ducati) +7.735s
- 10.James Westmoreland (Buildbase BMW) +7.735s
Race two result:
- 1. Shane Byrne (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki)
- 2. Josh Brookes (Milwaukee Yamaha) +0.138s
- 3. James Ellison (Lloyds British GBmoto Racing Kawasaki) +1.785s
- 4. Ryuichi Kiyonari (Buildbase BMW) +3.694s
- 5. Chris Walker (Lloyds British GBmoto Racing Kawasaki) +5.376s
- 6. Stuart Easton (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki) +5.724s
- 7. James Westmoreland (Buildbase BMW) +10.826s
- 8. Dan Linfoot (Lloyds British GBmoto Racing Kawasaki) +11.488s
- 9. Tommy Bridewell (Milwaukee Yamaha) +11.678s
- 10. Ben Wilson (Gearlink Kawasaki) +11.908s
- 1. Shane Byrne (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki) 50
- 2. James Ellison (Lloyds British GBmoto Racing Kawasaki) 32
- 3. Chris Walker (Lloyds British GBmoto Racing Kawasaki) 31
- 4. Josh Brookes (Milwaukee Yamaha) 20
- 5. Stuart Easton (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki) 20
- 6. Ben Wilson (Gearlink Kawasaki) 19
Showing their support for the series, Pirelli offer customers who purchase a set of DIABLO™ Supercorsa SP, DIABLO ROSSO™ Corsa, DIABLO ROSSO™ II, DIABLO™, ANGEL™ GT, ANGEL™ ST, SCORPION™ Trail, the chance to claim a free BSB ticket. More details at www.pirelli.co.uk/moto