BSB: Brookes Takes Cadwell Park Pole Position

After tremendous rainfall on Friday, the conditions were almost perfect for the British Superbike riders in Cadwell Park, for qualifying for the eighth round of the 2019 championship.

It was Josh Brookes (Be Wiser Ducati) took pole position, with a stunning lap of a 1’26.2 for his third pole of the season. Brookes has been well known for his Mountain performances over his BSB career, but his technique has faced criticism. A pole lap of that quality will silence those criticisms, at least until tomorrow. But Brookes’ pace has been strong all weekend, since the test on Thursday, so the Australian will certainly be a favourite going into race day.

Brookes’ pole lap was the target Bradley Ray (Buidlbase Suzuki) needed to take him to his first front row of the season. 2019 has been a difficult year for Ray so far but perhaps this is the beginning of a return to form for the #28.

Tommy Bridewell (Oxford Racing) completes the front row for sunday’s first race, as he seeks a return to the podium having missed it on both occasions in Thruxton.

Scott Redding (Be Wiser Ducati) has had a strong Cadwell Park debut. A front row looked likely until Bradley Ray’s stealthy lap for second, but a fourth-place start is by no means a disaster for the championship leader. Danny Buchan (FS-3 Racing Kawasaki) has had a strong weekend, and qualified fifth, whilst Jason O’Halloran (McAMS Yamaha) completes the second row.

Dan Linfoot (Santander Salt TAG Yamaha) suffered a mechanical problem towards the end of Q3 which compromised his session, and qualified seventh. The Tyco BMW Motorrad pairing of Christian Iddon and Glenn Irwin complete the third row.

Andrew Irwin (Honda Racing) was the fastest rider to not make it out of Q2 thanks to Iddon’s late lap. That means the #18 Honda will line up at the head of row four, ahead of an incensed Peter Hickman (Smiths Racing) whose final lap was ruined when he caught Gino Rea (Bike Devil Sweda MV Agusta). Luke Stapleford (Buildbase Suzuki) completes row four.

Luke Stapleford riding the Buildbase Suzuki BSB bike at Cadwell Park 2019. Image courtesy of Suzuki

Xavi Fores (Honda Racing) starts from thirteenth in Sunday’s first race, ahead of an impressive Matt Truelove (Raceways Yamaha) who is having his best weekend on a Superbike so far. Row five is completed by Rea; whilst row six sees Josh Elliott (OMG Racing Suzuki) ahead of the injured Tarran Mackenzie (McAMS Yamaha) and Ryan Vickers (RAF Regular & Reserves Kawasaki) who crashed in the Hairpin in Q1, meaning his Q2 was compromised – on his first flying lap the #7 crashed again at the Hairpin, meaning he didn’t set a time in Q2.

Ben Currie (Quattro Plant JG Speedfit Kawasaki) was the fastest rider to not make Q2 on his first SBK visit to Cadwell. The Australian will be joined on row seven by Billy McConnell – in place of the injured Luke Mossey at OMG Racing Suzuki – and Hector Barbera (Quattro Plant JG Speedfit Kawasaki) who is now in full time as Currie’s teammate.

Dean Harrison (Silicone Engineering Racing) qualified twenty-second, ahead of Joe Francis (Lloyd & Jones Bowker Motorrad) and Claudio Corti (Team WD-40); whilst David Allingham (EHA Yamaha) qualified only twenty-fifth after a crash, ahead of Sam Coventry (Team 64 Motorsports) and Shaun Winfield (Santander Salt TAG Yamaha). Dean Hipwell (CDH Racing) and Fraser Rogers (Gearlink Kawasaki) complete the grid.

Featured Image courtesy of Suzuki Racing

BSB: Showdown Battle Intensified Ahead of Cadwell

This weekend the British Superbike Championship heads to Cadwell Park for round eight of the 2019 Championship.

Despite his penalty in the second race the and victory of his teammate Josh Brookes, Be Wiser Ducati’s Scott Redding leads both the general standings and the podium points ahead of this weekend’s two races. This could be quite important for Redding, who at the top of Ducati’s list to replace Alvaro Bautista in the factory squad for the 2020 WorldSBK season, as the particular peculiarity of Cadwell makes it a place where experience can count for a lot. As a rookie not only to BSB but also to Cadwell Park, Redding’s challenge this weekend will be a tough one.

Scott Redding at Oulton Park. BSB 2019. Image courtesy of Ducati

Of course, Cadwell Park is well known for The Mountain, a feature for which it is quite unique – it is rare to leave the ground with both wheels on an asphalt circuit – but perhaps its greater challenge is how narrow the track is, barely wide enough for two of BSB’s safety cars to fit side-by-side. Of course, with a motorcycle there is more space, but with 220 or 230 horsepower, that extra space can seem non-existent. Additionally, in Cadwell Park, the bike is almost never upright, even the front straight is kinked, and the longest straight on the track has a reasonably significant curve in the centre. Being precise is the key to Cadwell Park, especially in qualifying – the narrowness means overtaking is extremely difficult, so a strong starting position is important for a good result in the race.

Last year, it was Leon Haslam who took both victories in Cadwell, and he was halfway to achieving the same feat twelve months previously before he dropped out of race two. However, in his absence this year, Kawasaki has picked up only one race win, courtesy of Danny Buchan (FS-3 Racing Kawasaki) in Knockhill. Buchan has been spectacular over the mountain in the past, but a crash at its foot last year saw him drop out of race one, able only to achieve an eighth place in race two. The #83 has shown he is fast enough to make the Showdown this year, but with it approaching could do with a healthy haul this weekend to find some more security before the Oulton Park triple-header in the beginning of September.

Despite Haslam’s successes, it is difficult to think of Cadwell Park without making the link to Josh Brookes. The Australian has been well-known for his enthusiasm at its most famous part throughout his time racing in Britain. Despite this, Brookes hasn’t found the top step there since 2015, when his race two triumph was the last in a sequence of victories spanning three rounds. The Ducati has been dominant this season, and Brookes will have gained confidence after his Thruxton victory, but finding the right setting and the necessary confidence with such an extreme motorcycle on such an extreme circuit could prove tricky in the partnership’s first year.

Andrew Irwin. Winner at the 2019 BSB Thruxton Race. Image courtesy of Honda BSB racing

Andrew Irwin (Honda Racing) will have also gained confidence from his Thruxton victory, the first of his career in BSB. Not only did Irwin take his first BSB win two weeks ago but he also leapfrogged his teammate, Xavi Fores (Honda Racing) for the final provisional spot in the Showdown. Irwin arrives in Cadwell Park seven points clear of Fores, who tested at Cadwell at the beginning of the year; Peter Hickman (Smiths Racing) – who won at Cadwell back in 2014 on a Honda and arrives in the BSB paddock this weekend having dominated the Ulster Grand Prix, with seven wins at the Irish road race – is sixteen back of Irwin. Having missed both races in Thruxton thanks to injuries from his qualifying crash, Tarran Mackenzie (McAMS Yamaha) has also been dragged into the Showdown scrap, the #95 sitting just twelve points clear of Fores. With only five races before the Showdown six are decided, this battle is only going to continue to intensify.

James Ellison, who won in Cadwell Park just two years ago, will not be racing this weekend, having split with the Smiths Racing squad. The team have not announced a replacement for the #77.

BSB: Redding Leads the Pack Ahead of Tyre-Critical Thruxton

This weekend the British Superbike Championship heads to Thruxton for round seven of the 2019 season.

Scott Redding (Be Wiser Ducati) arrives in Thruxton as the championship leader – both overall and in podium points – and off the back of another strong weekend in Snetterton where he took a double-victory. Redding now has six wins in 2019, more than any other rider, but Thruxton is yet another new track for the ex-MotoGP rider, and one of the most unique of the British Superbike calendar.

Thruxton has the highest average speed of the year, faster than any MotoGP track. Mostly, riders spend their time on the right side of the tyre, well in excess of 100mph, with smoke pouring off the rear Pirelli. The Hampshire track is a particular challenge for the riders, since with its speed and character comes enjoyment, so the riders want to push, they want to spin the rear tyre because it is fun. However, to win, of course you have to protect the tyre, and the rider who can balance the speed with protecting the rear tyre is generally the one that will come out on top. Perhaps this is no different to any other circuit, but the sheer amount of time spent on the side of the tyre with a lot of speed and a lot of power means that Thruxton is quite peculiar.

In the past, Josh Brookes (Be Wiser Ducati) has proven particularly successful at the game of tyre management in Thruxton, winning the second race last year as well as the first one in 2017; both races in 2015 on his way to the title; both races in 2014; race two in 2012 and race two in 2010. Brookes’ success in Thruxton has lasted a long time. With the success of his teammate, Redding, in 2019, there is perhaps no better circuit for Brookes to go to in his attempt to try and reclaim some momentum in the championship and to try to close the deficit he currently suffers to Redding in the podium points standings.

Peter Hickman (Smiths Racing) has seen success in Thruxton, too, winning in 2017 when Brookes crashed out and going 3-2 last year despite being hospitalised on Saturday night. Whether Hickman can replicate this form this year with the 2019 BMW S1000RR, vastly different to the old model, remains to be seen but regardless the #60 should be one to watch this weekend.

Tommy Bridewell (Oxford Racing) and Tarran Mackenzie (McAMS Yamaha) had difficult weekends in Snetterton, at least results-wise. Both riders arguably had the pace to win, but came away with the same score-card, with one third place and one DNF each. It will be important for both riders to rebound this weekend, since the two Be Wiser riders extended their advantage at the last round and with the Showdown edging closer podium points are becoming increasingly important.

On the other side, the battle for the all-important sixth-place is getting closer. Xavi Fores (Honda Racing) currently holds sixth in the championship, but only twenty-two points back is Christian Iddon (Tyco BMW Motorrad) in ninth. Between Fores and Iddon are Hickman and Fores’ Honda Racing teammate Andrew Irwin. These are the four riders fighting for the last spot, and they have three rounds, including Thruxton, to decide amongst them who would get it.

At Tyco BMW Motorrad, Glenn Irwin has arrived from Quattro Plant JG Speedfit Kawasaki to replace Keith Farmer for the rest of the season, following Irwin’s departure from the 2018 championship-winning squad. At Quattro Plant, Hector Barbera is replacing Irwin after his good impression in his replacements so far this year, first for Ben Currie, and then for Irwin in Snetterton.

BSB: Redding Takes Snetterton Pole

Qualifying for the sixth round of the British Superbike Championship took place at Snetterton. The weather had been inconsistent throughout the weekend but the track remained dry for qualifying.

Scott Redding (Be Wiser Ducati) had been fastest throughout the weekend, and so was the favourite for pole position heading into qualifying. His promise from free practice was one he was able to deliver on as the ex-MotoGP rider took his second pole position of the season on his first visit to Snetterton – perhaps the most ‘European’ of the British tracks with the exceptions of Donington and Silverstone.

Tarran Mackenzie (McAMS Yamaha) was second on the grid. In a weekend where Ducati have been dominant with Redding and competitive with Josh Brookes (Be Wiser Ducati) and Tommy Bridewell (Oxford Racing) it has been Mackenzie who has represented some resistance to the Panigale V4R with his YZF-R1, and starting from the middle of the front row gives him a good chance for the first race tomorrow.

Tommy Bridewell ensured Mackenzie’s Yamaha was the meat in the Ducati sandwich on the front row for tomorrow’s first race as he qualified third. It has been a quiet weekend for the #46, but when the lap time counted he found himself competitive and was able to give himself a good opportunity tomorrow.

Josh Brookes was mostly off the pace compared to his teammate; Redding, throughout free practice, but he seemed to find something in qualifying. The Australian was able to almost match his teammate in Q1, although in the final pole position shootout of Q3 he was only able to manage fourth. The second row is not a disaster for Brookes, of course, and with the fastest four riders of the weekend heading up the grid the races tomorrow should be quite open.

Dan Linfoot (Santander Salt TAG Yamaha) qualified fifth, continuing his good form. Xavi Fores (Honda Racing) also continued his good qualifying form by taking sixth place after his pole position in Knockhill. Danny Buchan (FS-3 Kawasaki) set the seventh-fastest time in Q2, and will line up on the third row ahead of Andrew Irwin (Honda Racing) who crashed in Q2 and Peter Hickman (Smiths Racing) who suffered his first crash of the season on the exit of the final corner in Q3 which brought out the red flags as his bike was stranded in the middle of the track.

Bradley Ray – Buildbase Suzuki. Image courtesy of Suzuki racing

Bradley Ray (Buildbase Suzuki) was the fastest of the riders to not make Q3 and qualified tenth aead of Luke Stapleford (Buidlbase Suzuki) and Luke Mossey (OMG Racing Suzuki) who was disappointed to round out the fourth row after a strong showing in free practice.

Michael Laverty, replacing Keith Farmer at Tyco BMW Motorrad, qualified thirteenth ahead of Hector Barbers who is back in at Quattro Plant JG Speedfit Kawasaki replacing Glenn Irwin who has vision issues following a bout of the flu. Christian Iddon (Tyco BMW Motorrad), complete with a nineteen-day-old broken leg, completes row five.

Josh Elliott (OMG Racing Suzuki) qualified sixteenth ahead of Joe Francis (Lloyd & Jones Bowker Motorrad) on his first competitive outing with the 2019 BMW S1000RR. Ben Currie (Quattro Plant JG Speedfit Kawasaki) was the slowest of the riders in Q2 and will line up eighteenth for race one.

James Ellison (Smiths Racing) qualified nineteenth and will head up row seven in race one, ahead of Ryan Vickers (RAF Regular & Reserves Kawasaki) on his return from injury. Jason O’Halloran (McAMS Yamaha) suffered two crashes in Q1 – at least one confirmed to be a bike problem as he hit a false neutral into turn four – and will complete the seventh row.

Claudio Corti (Team WD-40) was twenty-second fastest, ahead of Matt Truelove (Raceways Yamaha) and David Allingham (EHA Yamaha); whilst Dean Harrison (Silicone Engineering Racing) heads up row nine from Shaun Winfield (Santander Salt TAG Yamaha) and Sam Coventry (Team 64 Motorsports).

Fraser Rogers (Gearlink Kawasaki) was thought to be out of the weekend after a problem on Friday morning, but continued at Snetterton and qualified twenty-eighth, heading up the last row from Danny Kent (Bike Devil Sweda MV Agusta) – who suffered bike problems with the MV F4 – and Dean Hipwell (CDH Racing) who completes the grid for race one.

Featured Image courtesy of Ducati

BSB: More Ducati Dominance on the Cards in Snetterton?

The British Superbike Championship heads to Snetterton this weekend for the sixth round of the 2019 season, with Scott Redding (Be Wiser Ducati) leading both the overall and podium points standings.

Snetterton should be a good track for the Ducati, with the long pit straight, as well as the Bentley Straight out the back, playing to the main strength of the Panigale V4R: the motor. It would be incorrect, though, to say that the V4R is only good at going in a straight line, though. As evidenced by Alvaro Bautista in the World Championship, and the bike’s success in the hands of Redding, Josh Brookes (Be Wiser Ducati) and Tommy Bridewell (Oxford Racing) on the twisty British tracks, including Redding’s race two win at the tightest of them all, Knockhill, last time out.

Scott Redding on the Be Wiser Ducati at BSB Knockhill 2019. Image courtesy of Ducati

Indeed, it is hard to see anything other than Ducati sweeping this weekend, with Brookes having shown strong in Snetterton in the past, including last year when he finished fourth and third on the Yamaha and contended for the win with Leon Haslam’s Kawasaki in both races. Additionally, Tommy Bridewell has been strong at almost every race track so far this season, consistency proving his key to success in 2019.

Whilst Scott Redding’s prospective success before the season was thought to be down to how he would perform in circuits like Snetterton, which is more open than other British tracks. The success of the #45 so far this season would suggest that his comfortability in tracks with close barriers and blind corners is not a problem, but nonetheless a strong weekend here would set him up well for perhaps the most particular of the British circuits, Thruxton, which is next up on the schedule after Snetterton.

Last year it was Kawasaki, in the hands of Leon Haslam, who took both victories in Snetterton. The Quattro Plant JG Speedfit Kawasaki team who Haslam rode for last year has not seen the same success in 2019 so far, with Ben Currie injured since Oulton Park and Glenn Irwin yet to find his feet on the ZX-10RR in BSB form.

Danny Buchan, meanwhile, has been competitive on the FS-3 Racing Kawasaki, and took his first BSB win last time out in Knockhill. Competing with the Ducati riders in the straights at Snetterton, though, will not be easy, especially for a rider of the vertical size of Buchan.

Tarran Mackenzie at the 2019 BSB Knockhill round. Image courtesy of Impact Images/McAms Yamaha

Yamaha have not won since Tarran Mackenzie (McAMS Yamaha) took victory in Silverstone race two, the second race of the season. In fact, Buchan is the only non-Ducati rider to win since Mackenzie’s Silverstone win. Mackenzie is still right in the championship hunt, though, sitting eleven podium points behind Redding, and fifty-two points in front of Christian Iddon (Tyco BMW Motorrad) who is seventh in the overall championship and suffering with a broken leg from his race two crash in Knockhill.

That battle for the final Showdown spots is going to start to warm up soon, with Xavi Fores (Honda Racing) holding the sixth and final spot, twenty points in front of Iddon and Peter Hickman (Smiths Racing) who is back in BSB action this weekend after a trip out on the world stage last weekend in Donington at the factory BMW squad. Andrew Irwin (Honda Racing) is in the fight, too, twenty-six points behind teammate Fores.

BSB: First British Championship Pole for Fores at Torrential Knockhill

Despite the hot conditions of Friday, rain delayed the start of British Superbike qualifying in Knockhill, for round five of the 2019 series.

The qualifying became one single session, in comparison to the usual three-session format.

Xavi Fores (Honda Racing) took pole position, his first in BSB. Knockhill is a peculiar circuit, so to take pole position there with wet conditions and a bike which is not considered among the best is quite impressive.

Keith Farmer (Tyco BMW Motorrad) qualified second but a late crash means his ability to start tomorrow’s race is uncertain. In any case, it is the best qualifying result for the 2019 S1000RR.

Danny Buchan (FS-3 Racing Kawasaki) would have been on pole position courtesy of his time in FP3 had qualifying been cancelled. As it was, the Essex rider was able to set the third-fastest time so will start from the front row in race one.

Tarran Mackenzie at BSB Knockhill 2019. Image courtesy of Impact Images/ McAMS Yamaha

Tarran Mackenzie (McAMS Yamaha) qualified fourth ahead of what will be an important pair of races tomorrow. The #95 didn’t score in Brands Hatch thanks to his qualifying crash, so needs to score well tomorrow to get his championship back on track. Andrew Irwin (Honda Racing) and Christian Iddon (Tyco BMW Motorrad) will join Mackenzie on the second row.

The rookie Luke Stapleford (Buildbase Suzuki) qualified seventh in his first full-wet session on a Superbike. The 2015 British Supersport Champion will be joined by Jason O’Halloran (McAMS Yamaha) and fellow rookie, the hydrophilic Ben Currie (Quattro Plant JG Speedfit Kawasaki), on the third row.

Tommy Bridewell (Oxford Racing) was the top Ducati and heads up row four from Dan Linfoot (Santander Salt TAG Yamaha) and the historically hydrophobic Luke Mossey (OMG Racing Suzuki); whilst row five sees Bradley Ray (Buildbase Suzuki) ahead of James Ellison (Smiths Racing) and four-time 2019 winner Josh Brookes (Be Wiser Ducati).

Brookes’ teammate, Scott Redding (Be Wiser Ducati) also had a difficult session as he learned the Pirelli wet tyres for the first time. The ex-MotoGP rider qualified sixteenth, and will be joined by Claudio Corti (Team WD-40) and Peter Hickman (Smiths Racing) who normally shows better than eighteenth in the wet – or any conditions for that matter.

Joe Francis (Lloyd & Jones Bowker Motorrad) qualified inside the top twenty for the second time in his rookie BSB campaign as he took the nineteenth fastest time on the 2018-spec S1000RR. The #40 will be joined on row seven by Glenn Irwin (Quattro Plant JG Speedfit Kawasaki) and Matt Truelove (Raceways Yamaha).

David Allingham (EHA Yamaha), Josh Elliott (OMG Racing Suzuki) and Dean Hipwell (CDH Racing) make up row eight, whilst the remaining riders – Fraser Rogers (Gearlink Kawasaki), Sam Coventry (Team 64 Motorsports), Dean Harrison (Silicone Engineering Racing) and Shaun Winfield (Santander Salt TAG Yamaha) – were all outside the 107% cut-off time.

BSB: Can Ducati be Bested in Knockhill?

This weekend the British Superbike Championship heads to Scotland and Knockhill for round five of the 2019 season, with Tommy Bridewell (Oxford Racing) leading the general championship.

Despite holding the points lead, Bridewell is at a deficit to both Be Wiser Ducati riders, Josh Brookes and Scott Redding, in the podium points which will already hold a greater significance for these three riders at this stage of the season, such is the format of the championship. Since the podium points structure was changed to 5-3-1 (five for a win, three for second, one for third) a few years ago the importance of reaching the top step in the first part of the season has grown in importance, and it is something Bridewell is yet to do in 2019, nor has he achieved it in the BSB class in Knockhill.

Josh Brookes at BSB Brands Hatch 2019. Image courtesy of Ducati

In comparison, the Be Wiser duo have won each of the last seven races, with Brookes doubling in Oulton Park at round two, as well as last time out in Brands Hatch; whilst Scott Redding did the triple at Donington back in the end of May. It has been Bridewell’s consistency that has him at the top of the points, but the high peaks of the PBM riders have countered their troughs to allow them to be clear at the top of the podium points.

This weekend, with respect to the Ducati riders, will be an interesting one, as Knockhill is arguably the track at which the Panigale V4R is likely to have the least advantage compared to its rivals, such is the lack of time at full throttle at the Scottish track. That said, the anti-wheelie provided by the winglets will be of some help in the undulating front straight off the bottom-gear final corner. Furthermore, the Ducati’s advantage cannot be underestimated – not only has the V4R won the last seven races, it has taken fourteen of the last twenty-one podium positions and hasn’t been off the podium since race two in Silverstone. Even still, not only does Knockhill fail to play to Ducati’s biggest strength, but it has also never seen a victory by any of the Ducati riders expected to be fighting at the front this weekend, despite a plethora of podiums from Josh Brookes in Scotland throughout his BSB career.

Perhaps, then, this weekend could provide an opportunity for the non-Ducati riders to reclaim some ground. Particularly, Tarran Mackenzie (McAMS Yamaha) will be hoping to make the podium this weekend after his double-DNS last time out in Brands thanks to his qualifying crash and resulting concussion. In his home race, Mackenzie and his nimble Yamaha could have a strong chance to take it to the V4R and pick up their first win since Silverstone race two.

Additionally, Peter Hickman (Smiths Racing) will be hoping to arrive on the podium this weekend for the first time in 2019, as will the two Tyco BMW Motorrad riders, Christian Iddon and Keith Farmer. The three were quite well-matched in Brands Hatch, and the non-stop layout of Knockhill should suit the 2019 S1000RR and its sweet handling chassis well.

Tarran Mackenzie. Image courtesy of Impact Images Photography/McAMS Yamaha

In the absence of Mackenzie in Brands Hatch, it was Danny Buchan (FS-3 Racing Kawasaki) who was the ‘best of the rest’ behind the Ducati riders. Buchan went 3-3 last year in Knockhill, and will be looking to add to his two 2019 podiums achieved so far (3-3 in Oulton Park) this weekend, and to put Kawasaki on the top step for the first time in BSB this year.

BSB: Redding Beats Brookes to Brands Hatch Pole

Qualifying for the fourth round of the 2019 British Superbike Championship at Brands Hatch saw the riders met with almost ideal conditions on track.

Scott Redding took pole position by 0.007 seconds from Be Wiser Ducati teammate, Josh Brookes. The Ducati pairing have been the fastest riders all weekend, and quite well-matched. The battle between them in Sunday’s races should be an interesting one, as the winners of the last five races try to take the momentum away from Brands Hatch.

Jason O’Halloran (McAMS Yamaha) will join the two Be Wiser Ducati’s on the front row after a strong session for the Aussie. In fact, the weekend as a whole has been a good one for O’Halloran who seems to have rediscovered some of the feeling and form that he has missed in the two rounds since Silverstone. He might be the only rider capable of taking the fight to the two Be Wiser Ducati riders tomorrow.

Tommy Bridewell (Oxford Racing) will hope to be there as well, and put himself in a good position to do so, as he will start from the front of the second row in fourth place. Dan Linfoot (Santander Salt TAG Yamaha) and Christian Iddon (Tyco BMW Motorrad) will join Bridewell on the second row.

Peter Hickman (Smiths Racing) came to Brands Hatch fresh from the TT,  in  good form, and qualified seventh. Bradley Ray (Buildbase Suzuki) showed his best of the year with an eighth place qualifying, ahead of Tarran Mackenzie (McAMS Yamaha). Mackenzie crashed at Clearways on his first flying lap in Q3, and so did not set a time. The #95 was knocked unconscious in the crash, and so will be unable to line up tomorrow. Therefore, Danny Buchan (FS-3 Racing Kawasaki) will line up in ninth for race one.

In turn, Luke Mossey (OMG Racing Suzuki) is promoted to the head of row four, and will be joined by Keith Farmer (Tyco BMW Motorrad) and Andrew Irwin (Honda Racing).

Glenn Irwin (Quattro Plant JG Speedfit Kawasaki) will start thirteenth ahead of Luke Stapleford (Buildbase Suzuki) who crashed in Q1 and prohibited his progress from Q2. Josh Elliott (OMG Racing Suzuki) will start from the back of the fifth row in fifteenth.

David Allingham (EHA Yamaha) will start sixteenth, and will be joined on row six by James Ellison (Smiths Racing) and Xavi Fores (Honda Racing); whilst Claudio Corti (Team WD-40) is joined on row seven by Sylvain Barrier (Brixx Ducati) and Matt Truelove (Raceways Yamaha); and Hector Barbera (Quattro Plant JG Speedfit Kawasaki) is in front of Joe Francis (Lloyd & Jones Bowker Motorrad) and Shaun Winfield (Santander Salt TAG Yamaha) on row eight. Finally, the final row sees Sam Coventry (Team 64 Motorsports) ahead of Dean Hipwell (CDH Racing).

Featured Image courtesy of Ducati

BSB: Can Ducati be Beaten at Brands?

After the usual break for the Isle of Man TT, the British Superbike Championship is back in action this weekend, three weeks on from a historic round at Donington Park.

Scott Redding (Be Wiser Ducati) became the fiftieth rider to win a BSB race in the first outing at Donignton three weeks ago, and backed up that debut win with two more on Sunday to take the triple. Redding was able to make winning a BSB race look fairly straightforward in Donington, however that is expected to change this weekend in Brands Hatch, where Redding has never raced. It will be interesting to see how the #45 fares at a track where the whole field, essentially, have infinitely more track knowledge than him. This will be a new experience for Redding, since in Oulton Park he at least had the benefit of eighteen laps at the test day in the run up to the race weekend to learn where he was going.

Scott Redding at Donnington park. Image courtesy of Ducati

On the other side of the Be Wiser Ducati garage is the double winner from twelve months ago, Josh Brookes. That double came on the McAMS Yamaha in 2018, and with the Panigale V4R that Brookes is piloting this year having won the last five BSB races – with Brookes doubling up in Oulton Park before Redding’s Donignton treble – and with Brookes’ record in Brands, where he is second only to Shane Byrne for total wins, it is hard to see past the Aussie to at least take an overall this weekend.

However, the McAMS Yamaha riders, Tarran Mackenzie and Jason O’Halloran, should be able to take the fight to Brookes and the V4R with the YZF-R1 which suits the fast, flowing nature of Brands Hatch quite well. Both McAMS Yamaha riders have arguably disappointed since round one at Silverstone, where they were quite dominant, with only one podium between them since then, courtesy of Mackenzie in the third race at Donington. Perhaps it is important to remember that 2019 is just Mackenzie’s second season in BSB, and the first year for O’Halloran in BSB outside of Honda. Either way, the expectation will be there for the two riders this weekend, one in which they will both be expecting top results.

Tommy Bridewell at Donnington Park.Image courtesy of Ducati

Tommy Bridewell (Oxford Racing) has enjoyed a fantastic start to the BSB year, and that earned him a place on the WSBK grid for the previous two rounds at Imola and Jerez in place of the injured Eugene Laverty at Team Goeleven. With Laverty expected to be back on the World Championship grid from the next round in Misano, Bridewell can now return his entire focus to BSB, a championship which is distinctly within the possibilities of the #46 – one that he can win. However, Bridewell is yet to win in 2019, and that monkey must be removed from his back quickly if he is to seriously contend for the title.

In addition to Redding’s success in Donington, the triple podium of Xavi Fores (Honda Racing) and the impressive performances of Hector Barbera (replacing Ben Currie at Quattro Plant JG Speedfit Kawasaki) meant it was a weekend for the international riders three weeks ago. With Currie out injured, Barbera is back this weekend for his first taste of Brands Hatch, whilst Fores – fresh from the announcement of his participation with the HARC-PRO Honda squad at the Suzuka 8 Hours in July – returns to Brands Hatch for the first time this decade in search of more top threes.

Peter Hickman (Smiths Racing) has had a slow start to the BSB year, scoring just forty-one points in the opening three rounds. However, despite missing out on the Senior TT on the Isle of Man, it was quite a successful week for Hickman, so it will be interesting to see if he can bring that form to the short circuit.

Mackenzie: “We just need to keep the momentum going”

Tarran Mackenzie (McAMS Yamaha) enjoyed a return to the podium in Saturday’s race one at Donington Park, for the third round of the 2019 British Superbike Championship, and established a championship lead going into the second BSB race of the weekend on Sunday. Alex Whitworth spoke to him on Sunday morning after the warm up session for the Superbike riders about the 2019 season so far for the #95, his step from rookie to championship contender and his adaptation to a 1000cc motorcycle.

Tarran Mackenzie. Image courtesy of Impact Images Photography/McAMS Yamaha

AW: Tarran, you returned to the podium yesterday after missing it both times in Oulton Park. Are you happy with how the race went?

TM: “Yeah, really good. Struggled a lot at Oulton Park so to come back here at my home track and get second, after leading it for a long time as well, was good. So I’m happy.”

AW: Even on the short back straight here, the Ducati has an advantage, they were coming past you a lot. That must be frustrating?

TM: “Yeah, it’s quite demoralising really, because […] you can try your best [for a lap in front] and then they pass you back down the back straight, it’s quite annoying, really. It is the way it is, though, and they are beatable, so I need to try to be a bit smoother in the first part of the lap.”

AW: You had a strong rookie year, finishing tenth in the championship, and taking some podiums towards the end of the season. You’re in your second year, now, and fighting for the championship, so what has changed for you to make that step?

TM: “Probably just a bit more experience, really, because last year I was, as you say, just a rookie. These bikes are quite hard to ride, so just getting used to it, really. [I’m with] the same team, same bike, everything is the same, so just a bit of continuity, and it’s all coming together nicely.”

AW: So, you’re leading the championship. Is 2019, then, going better than expected, or are you about where you thought you would be?

TM: “[It’s going] Better than I thought, really. I wanted to just try and be in the top six each race and, apart from Oulton [Park] race one, I’ve pretty much done that. So, to be leading the championship now, with a bit of a gap to second is good as well, so, going a lot better than expected. We just need to keep the momentum going.”

AW: You took your first win in Silverstone. Was it important to get that out of the way early?

TM: “Yeah, I wanted to win a race, that was the big goal, really, so to do that […] in the second race, that’s sort of the monkey off my back, really, so we just need to keep going for the rest of the year now, and try to stay on the podium.”

Tarran Mackenzie during the 2019 Donington Park BSB event. Image courtesy of Impact Images Photography/McAMS Yamaha

AW: You’re one of the smaller riders, so was that a particular problem when you came to Superbike?

TM: “Yeah, being vertically challenged- like at Oulton Park, when it’s hard work to rider, it’s hard – if you’re a bigger rider it makes it easier. So, yeah, it does get tough at times, but it sort of plays into my advantage at some tracks.”

AW: The Yamaha is known for being a ‘corner speed’ bike, and with you coming from some years on 600s and before that on 125/Moto3, does the R1 suit you well?

TM: “Yeah, definitely, yeah. From Moto2, as well, it was a very similar style. A lot of people have to change their riding style for a Superbike, whereas I didn’t really have to do that, which was nice for me. Some tracks it works well, some tracks it doesn’t – [Donington] is one of them [where it works well], so try to use that as an advantage. Tracks like Brands [Hatch, up next on the calendar], Silverstone, Donington, Assen, just try to use it as an advantage.”

Mackenzie finished fifth in BSB race two at Donington on Sunday, and fourth in the second race. In comparison, Scott Redding (Be Wiser Ducati) won both races, in addition to his win in Saturday’s race, to take him to the top of the championship. Tommy Bridewell also found the podium in both of Sunday’s races, which took him ahead of Mackenzie in the championship by one point, meaning the #95 is now third in the championship and seven points off the top, with a five-podium point deficit to Redding.