Large crowds enjoyed a long awaited end to the British winter as temperatures rose for raceday. New Pirelli Superbike rear tyre gives great results with good durability, even in extremely cold practice sessions.

The MCE British Superbike Championship kicked off today in dramatic style at Brands Hatch as local hero and reigning Champion Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne took the series lead.

Pirelli Overview

Pirelli technicians were pleased to see the introduction of their new rear Superbike tyre as it was adopted throughout the entire BSB grid, with good results in a wide range of conditions. The new Diablo Superbike SC1 tyre had to contend with extremely cold track temperatures at the start of the weekend, without signs of ‘cold tearing’.

Tyre wear remained consistent throughout the duration of the races, for example in the first outing Byrne logged his own fastest lap of 46.188 on the penultimate circulation.

Although there was 100% uptake of the softer SC1 rear tyre, some riders opted for the harder SC2 front compound. Notable exceptions to the SC1 front and rear domination were Jon Kirkham, Dan Linfoot, James Westmoreland, Robbin Harms and Peter Hickman. Kirkham in particular seemed confident in this selection gaining a fourth and sixth, producing his fastest lap of 46.459 on lap 28 of race two.

The British Supersport class witnessed two intense, multi-rider battles with Billy McConnell taking a new track record on the latest Diablo Supercorsa SC V2 tyres.

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.

The whole weekend almost exclusively used ‘dry’ tyres but for some wet weather running at the very start of Friday’s practice.

Race Review

After dominating practice and qualifying, Shane Byrne looked odds on favourite for double victory at his local Brands Hatch ‘Indy’ circuit.

‘Shakey’ posted the fastest lap of the weekend of 45.655s in the three stage, knockout qualifying session to take pole position. He was joined on the front row of the grid by Lowes, Ellison and Kirkham.

Race one saw Shakey take the holeshot into his beloved Paddock Hill Bend and remained in the lead until 2012 series runner-up Josh Brookes overtook him on lap five. Brookes was then re-taken by Byrne and then Lowes before the race was halted on the penultimate lap due to an accident. James Ellison was unlucky to receive a stop-go penalty in race one which allowed him a clear track to take the fastest lap, giving him pole for the second race.

Although Byrne again took the holeshot in the second outing, he was overhauled by Ellison on lap three and the race pace increased. Ellison set the fastest race lap of the weekend and continued to hold off the attentions of the Kentish triple Champion. With just three laps to go Byrne attempted an audacious move for the lead going into Surtees, resulting in him running across the grass at high speed and being demoted to third.

Alex Lowes continued his impressive learning curve on the Samsung Honda taking his second runner-up slot of the day.

The MCE British Superbike paddock take a very short breath before re-convening at the super fast Thruxton airfield circuit next weekend.

Pirelli View

Pirelli Racing Manager Jason Griffiths commented, “Brands Hatch certainly provided an early test of the new rear SC1 compounds in both the Superbike and Supersport classes. We saw a wide variation in track temperatures from 9 degrees on Friday afternoon through to 23 degrees on race day. The new compounds showed excellent resistance to the low track temperatures in free practice and their consistent performance played a part in providing excellent racing. The two Supersport races saw wins for Kawasaki and Yamaha with Honda and Triumph also in the battle, the Diablo Supercorsa V2 providing equal performance across all the machines. The Pirelli brand made its first appearance in the two Superstock classes and the Triumph Triple Challenge, being well received by the riders. All in all, a really positive start to a new BSB season.”

MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship, Brands Hatch GP


Race one result:
1:Shane Byrne (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki)
2:Alex Lowes (Samsung Honda) +1.376s
3:Josh Brookes (Tyco Suzuki) +6.207s
4:Jon Kirkham (Buildbase BMW) +9.009s
5:Tommy Bridewell (Bathams Honda) +9.326s
6:Keith Farmer (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki) +13.351s

Race two result:
1:James Ellison (Milwaukee Yamaha)
2:Alex Lowes (Samsung Honda) +1.997s
3:Shane Byrne (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki) +5.904s
4:Ryuichi Kiyonari (Samsung Honda) +11.507s
5:Josh Brookes (Tyco Suzuki) +15.974s
6:Jon Kirkham (Buildbase BMW) +21.280s

Championship standings:
1:Shane Byrne (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki) 41
2:Alex Lowes (Samsung Honda) 40
3:Josh Brookes (Tyco Suzuki) 27
4:James Ellison (Milwaukee Yamaha) 25
5:Jon Kirkham (Buildbase BMW) 23
6:Ryuichi Kiyonari (Samsung Honda) 21