This weekend the fourth round of the British Superbike Championship came from Thruxton in Hampshire. Michael Laverty secured his first victory of the season in the opening race. The SHARK-rider landed an impressive win in tricky conditions after working his way up through the pack to take the lead on lap eight. During race two Laverty struggled with the tricky conditions and finished a respectable seventh.
Alex Lowes had an outstanding weekend stepping into the MSS Colchester Kawasaki team following Stuart Easton’s crash at the NW200. The young SHARK-rider set a high precedent for himself in qualifying, constantly improving his time in dry conditions on his first ever outing aboard the Kawasaki ZX-10R leading to his, and the team’s first ever pole position. After a bad start Lowes managed to work his way up to the front of the pack, but super-slippy conditions saw the 20-year old drop back to eighth position – a spurt in the final lap saw Lowes cross the line in seventh. The Lincoln lad had a good start to race two and following some strong passes made his way from ninth to second position just after a few laps. During the fifth lap Lowes was chasing race leader Shane Byrne, when he crashed in the slippery conditions out of the final chicane.
Ben Wilson continued his successful start to the season with a third place finish in race one of the Supersport Championship, and a fourth place finish in race two. Wilson now leads the championship by 58 points. Danny Buchan and Howie Mainwaring finished 2-3 respectively in the Superstock 1000 championship with fellow SHARK-rider Victor Cox in fifth place. Buchan is leading the overall championship with Mainwaring in seventh. The Superstock 600 championship saw a win for SHARK-rider Keith Farmer who is also heading up the championship by 31 points.
The 125GP race saw SHARK’s young talent in the top ten and another podium with Andrew Reid on the second step. Bradley Ray took fourth position and Lee Jackson in the points in eighth place. There were more podium finishes for SHARK’s James Webb and Jeremy McWilliams in the Harley-Davidson Trophy – Webb took the top step, while veteran racer McWilliams finished third.
Meanwhile the fifth race weekend of the World Superbike Championship continued from the US – without the Supersport class. SHARK-supported Sylvain Guintoli secured a third place finish in race one and a respectable seventh for race two. Fellow SHARK-rider Tom Sykes also enjoyed a weekend in the points finishing in sixth and 10th. It was a disappointing weekend for Troy Corser who finished 13th in race one. Making an incredible start from sixth Corser passed the top five riders. Corser was able to maintain his positions for the first five laps but then faced serious tyre wear. During the second race the SHARK-supported rider crashed on lap three when he touched the kerb with his engine casing.
Michael Laverty, Superbike – race one: first, race two: seventh:
« It has been a good day for me with the win in the first race and I felt comfortable but knew I still needed to be cautious as I couldn’t afford to make a mistake. It feels like the monkey is off my back now as I had put pressure on myself to get that win and now it is in the bag and I am inside the top six. In race two I had a front row start but the visibility wasn’t good and I settled for points rather than risk a crash as I had a few moments out there. We have scored some good points today and finally got some of those podium credits. »
Alex Lowes, Superbike – race one: seventh, race two: DNF:
“I’m happy that on my first time on the bike I showed I have the speed with pole position and leading the first race but obviously I’m disappointed I crashed out of the second one. I’m still learning about the bike, and I just need to understand when to push and when to back off. I really wanted to do well for the team; they have had such a tough few weeks they deserved to be on the podium. The bike is fantastic, the team are great to work with and I’d like to say sorry to the whole team I couldn’t reward them with any trophies this weekend.”
Danny Buchan, Superstock 1000 – second:
“Thruxton has never been a good track for us and after qualifying I thought our bad luck would continue. But the team really pulled out all the stops in practice and we changed the suspension and got it working perfectly, which made me really confident for the race. The conditions were horrible for the race and after the safety car I was planning on following the leaders and making a move in the final laps, but then the race was red flagged, which was annoying. That said, obviously I’m happy to come away with second in the race and leading the Superstock Championship and I’m looking forward to Knockhill, which is a track I love.”
Howie Mainwaring, Superstock 1000 – third:
“We knew we had good race pace from qualifying but the weather made it really tricky so I decided to take it steady. I think I was holding up a few riders in the slower sections but it’s much easier to follow than lead in these conditions! It’s a shame the weather caught us out because I knew I could have come back at Danny and Richard in the last laps. Third isn’t a bad result and it’s a good confidence boost after a tricky start to the season.”
Troy Corser, World Superbike – race one: 13th, race two DNF:
”We are disappointed with the way the weekend has ended. I felt like we had a good setup for both the wet and dry conditions, and I was really confident going into today’s races. In race one I got away well and led the early laps. The bike felt good for the first five to six laps. Then the grip from the rear tyre became a real issue. I don’t know why it happened, so we need to have a look at the data and see. In race two I decided to take it a bit easier in the early laps to save the tyres, but I began to lose too many positions. So I then started to push and clipped the kerb with my engine casing and lost the front – crashing out of the race. On the whole it was a difficult weekend and one we need to analyse in more detail.”