Points all-round for Honda Racing UK at Brands Hatch
Round three of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship was a point-scoring weekend for Honda Racing UK at Brands Hatch across both the Superbike and Superstock classes.
Glenn Irwin completed the weekend with two top-ten finishes in today’s races, after coming home 11th in yesterday’s opening race aboard the Honda CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP. The final race of the day turned into a thrilling seven-lap dash, after the original 20-lap race was restarted due to a red flag.
Before the restart the race had been declared wet, but with a dry-line appearing on track Glenn opted for a full-wet front and an intermediate rear. Proving to be the right choice he soon made up places from his 12th-place grid position and by the fourth lap he was running in podium contention, but as the race was flagged he was fourth.
The restart was declared dry and with a tyre change allowed the team set about getting ready for the restart, where Glenn lined up fourth. Off the line he was away and into second place, but with his BSB rivals all wanting those podium places a fierce battle commenced. Equalling his best position of the year Glenn crossed the line in sixth place and moved up a place in the overall standings into 11th with 55 points.
Meanwhile Glenn’s BSB teammates Ryo Mizuno and Takumi Takahashi also had a mixed weekend. Ryo’s Brands Hatch experience ended early after a crash in FP1 on his second flying lap where he sustained swelling to his right hand. After a few laps in FP2 it was decided Ryo would sit out the rest of the weekend in order for his hand to heal before the next round at Thruxton.
For Takumi, today was his first time riding in tricky conditions at Brands Hatch, coming home 19th in Race 3 was his first race finish over the weekend after two DNF’s in Race 1 and Race 2.
For Tom Neave in the Pirelli National Superstock Championship, although not reflected in the results it was a positive weekend in terms of race pace and progression. During today’s race Tom had a bad start off the line and dropped to 16th place, however pushing hard aboard the Fireblade he quickly progressed and started reeling in his Superstock rivals making up nine places to eventually cross the line seventh.
The team now has a super-quick turn around, with round four of the championship taking place next weekend, 30 July – 1 August at Thruxton, where Honda Racing UK hope to be fighting once again at the sharp end.
Honda Race Report – Solid weekend of points for Tom Neave at Knockhill
RACE REPORT –
Honda Racing UK’s Tom Neave holds seventh place in the Pirelli National Superstock Championship standings after a positive weekend at Knockhill. Leading the way for the Honda team aboard the CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP, Tom finished fourth and fifth in the day’s two races and boosted his championship position to seventh place after arriving this weekend with zero points on the table.
Meanwhile for Glenn Irwin in the Bennetts British Superbike Championship, today was a vast improvement on yesterday’s frustrations. Coming home 11th in Race 2, Glenn and the team worked hard to improve the set-up of the Fireblade at the Scottish circuit, but in the final race of the day it wasn’t to be as Glenn crashed out, unhurt, while chasing down 10th place.
Teammate Ryo Mizuno continued to make progress aboard the Fireblade, as he continues to get to grips racing in the UK. An 18th place finish was the best of the pick for Ryo in the second BSB race of the weekend. Meanwhile Takumi Takahashi enjoyed putting in over 200 laps of Knockhill during his first visit to the venue. Still struggling with strength in his shoulder Takumi’s highest place finish across the weekend was 21st.
The Honda Racing UK team will now head back to its Louth-base in Lincolnshire and prepare for the third round of the championship which takes place over 23-25 July at Brands Hatch.
Team Suzuki Press Office – July 12.
Gino Rea: GSX-R1000R – 13-10-11
Tim Neave: GSX-R1000R – 5-DNF
Danny Kent: GSX-R1000R – DNF-DNF-14
Buildbase Suzuki’s Gino Rea twice challenged for a top five finish at Knockhill this weekend during the second round of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship, but while unable to remain consistent into the closing stages of the races and dropping down the order, his lap times prove the potential for better results is there.
Rea finished 13th in race one on Saturday but made drastic changes to the setup of his GSX-R1000R for Sunday’s double-header in a bid to improve the contact and feel from the rear tyre. The result saw him able to launch off the line and compete with the leading group, running inside the top five, but on both occasions he struggled in the closing stages and was unlucky to drop down the order. He finished 10th and 11th but set the fifth fastest lap of the final race, to showcase the pace he and the package has.
BUILDBASE SUZUKI POSITIVE AFTER TOUGH BSB OPENER
Gino Rea: GSX-R1000R (SBK Class) – 11-13-11th
Danny Kent: GSX-R1000R (SBK Class) – DNF-14-DNF
Tim Neave: GSX-R1000R (Superstock Class) – 5th
It was a tricky opening round to the 2021 Bennetts British Superbike Championship at Oulton Park, though valuable lessons were learned and there were positives to take away for Buildbase Suzuki’s Gino Rea and Danny Kent, while Tim Neave got his season off to a solid start after finishing fifth in the National Superstock 1000 race.
Despite a strong and productive pre-season for the two GSX-R1000R Superbike-mounted riders, Oulton Park was always going to be a challenge for Rea and Kent due to their combined lack of experience at the taxing Cheshire circuit, especially for Moto3 World Champion Kent.
Rea chalked up three point-scoring finishes, twice finishing 11th and once in 13th, but the results don’t tell the whole story, as setup changes saw a big improvement in his pace from race one to race three.
Kent carded a 14th place finish, but crashed out of races one and three, unhurt. However, he too leaves Oulton Park with more experience and more knowledge, and a clear area of focus: Not enough engine braking meant difficulties stopping the bike when grip levels dropped, resulting in the need to trail-brake deeper into turns, risking a crash.
In a competitive National Superstock 1000 class Neave scored solid championship points to start his 2021campaign. Circulating in the group behind the leaders, he took fifth place.
A weekend of positives despite challenges at Oulton Park
HONDA RACE REPORT
It’s been a weekend of learnings for the Honda Racing UK team at the opening round of the 2021 Bennetts British Superbike Championship, but despite the challenges thrown at them by Oulton Park, the Honda team are leaving the Cheshire circuit with plenty of positives.
Improvements have been made to both the Superbike and Superstock side of the garage with Glenn Irwin and Tom Neave improving their lap times over the weekend since the last outing in 2020. But Oulton Park is still a circuit that continues to taunt the Honda team, producing challenges for the set-up of the CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP with its physical layout.
Glenn Irwin comes away from Round 1 with 23 points and is ninth in the series standings after collecting three top-ten finishes across the weekend. The team made a gamble in the final race with the Fireblades set-up, which paid off, although not fully showing on the times or results.
Glenn started the race from 10th on the grid but was pushed off track by another rider early on causing him to drop places to 19th. Getting his head down wanting to make up the lost places, Glenn worked hard aboard the Fireblade SP to make his way through the pack to come home 10th.
Takumi Takahashi put on a brave face taking part in both of the day’s races, but with weakness in his shoulder having dislocated it during official testing Takumi pulled out from Race 2. During today’s final race the BSB rookie stayed out for the duration of the 18 laps coming home in an impressive 17th place having gained experience and confidence at the track.
Ryo Mizuno continued to push on learning the circuit but unfortunately crashed out during the second race and with swelling to his hand he was forced to miss the final race. After the crash Ryo was taken to the medical centre with initial X-rays showing no fractures, however the team will seek further medical advice next week once the swelling has gone down.
During the Superstock race a fight for the podium was on the cards for Tom Neave, who after qualifying sixth had moved up into fourth place and had started to track down Billy McConnell in third. However pushing hard to catch Billy, Tom crashed out of the running, unhurt, at Lodge.
The team now looks forward to the second round of the championship at Knockhill in Scotland, where a few weeks ago they enjoyed a successful test and hope to fight towards the sharp end. Round 2 will take place with a two-day race event format on Saturday 10 – Sunday 11 July.
The 2021 Bennetts British Superbike Championship calendar has been revised to enable more spectators to attend its 25th anniversary season.
All events will now take place beyond 21st June – the date which provisionally marks the easing of spectator restrictions at large elite sporting events.
Consequently the opening round of the 2021 Bennetts British Superbike Championship will now take place on 25-27 June at Oulton Park, around a month later than previously planned.
See Suzuki BSB Team here
See Honda BSB Team here
2021 Bennetts British Superbike Championship – Revised Official Test Dates:
|T1||April 28/29||Silverstone National|
|T2||May 4/5/6||Snetterton 300|
|T3||May 19||Oulton Park|
|T4||June 8||Donington Park National|
UPDATED 2021 Bennetts British Superbike Championship calendar:
|Round 1||June 25-27||Oulton Park|
|Round 2||July 9-11||Knockhill|
|Round 3||July 23-25||Brands Hatch GP|
|Round 4||July 30 – August 1||Thruxton|
|Round 5||August 13-15||Donington Park National|
|Round 6||August 20-22||Cadwell Park|
|Round 7||September 3-5||Snetterton 300|
|Round 8||September 10-12||Silverstone National|
|Round 9||September 24-26||Oulton Park|
|Round 10||October 1-3||Donington Park GP|
|Round 11||October 15-17||Brands Hatch GP|
*All rounds are Bennetts BSB triple-headers