The MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship contenders will hit top speeds of around 195mph this weekend (1/2/3 August) as the action at the high-speed Thruxton circuit in Hampshire for the sixth round of the season.
Leading the high-speed duel for title supremacy is Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne. The triple champion narrowly missed out on victory at Brands Hatch two weeks ago to a fighting Ryuichi Kiyonari and both are heading to Hampshire with the focus of adding to their winning tally in the quest to take a record-breaking fourth title.
Byrne said: “Thruxton is an important round and one where we can see if the improvements we have made since Brands Hatch have paid off. I personally like the circuit and I think we will see that nobody will get away there. Thruxton is a case where, if there is a pack, then the race will be decided on the last lap. You get a bit of a run out of Church and then everyone gets a bit of a beating up at the chicane. That said, you only need to be in striking distance at Church and then you can have a good go! I certainly hope that we can come away with another win or two, that’s not being greedy that is just the target.”
Kiyonari said: “Thruxton is all about going fast and I like that. I think that this circuit should be another good one for the BMW, the bikes are very equal in the championship but this one should be good for us. I have lots of confidence and we have been improving all the time and that shows we are ready to try and win at every round. I like the circuit a lot so I want to have good results again. I want to win – if I didn’t think I could then I wouldn’t be going this year!”
Josh Brookes rates Thruxton as one of his favourite circuits on the calendar and the Milwaukee Yamaha rider knows that he needs to return to podium-finishing form to cement an early place in the Showdown. The Australian and his team-mate Tommy Bridewell return to Britain fresh from competing in the Suzuka Eight Hour race in Japan, with Thruxton the home round for Devizes-based Bridewell who will be hunting to add to his single podium finish so far this season at his local round.
Brookes said: “I am looking forward to Thruxton and now we have had the Suzuka event, which was the last one of my other races, it means now I just have BSB to focus on. I am hoping that we can have a good event at Thruxton and we can have better results than we have had in the past couple of races. We have had a good start to the season but I am not satisfied unless I am winning races. I think both myself and Tommy have both returned from Suzuka even more fired up to represent the team well in the Championship after doing the same at the race in Japan. I always enjoy Thruxton so there is a lot of positive energy and motivation to do well this weekend.”
Bridewell said: “To be honest Thruxton has never been a good circuit for me in the past, but every time I go, I am really determined to make it a different story and I am approaching this weekend with a positive outlook. We want to have a good weekend and we have shown we have a good race pace, but we have just had a few issues in the last couple of races that affected us. In race two at Brands Hatch we beat our main competitors, the ones who are ahead of us in the standings, with a fourth place and so we need to keep that up
“At Thruxton anything can happen because of the nature of the circuit so hopefully we are in a good position in the race to try and have a go because I want to get my head down and fight hard in the races. I want to come away from the weekend with two good results and the way I am feeling with the Yamaha that bodes well for a good weekend.”
Chris Walker flies the flag for the Lloyds British GBmoto Racing Kawasaki team this weekend with James Ellison recovering from injury; the Nottinghamshire rider currently holds the final place in the top six in the overall standings ahead of the chasing pack.
Thruxton also marks the home round for the Quattro Plant Bournemouth Kawasaki team and Dan Linfoot will be pushing to move back inside the top six again. However Stuart Easton and Richard Cooper are closing in and the Tyco Suzuki pairing of John Hopkins and Brands Hatch race winner Josh Waters are also set to upset the order.
James Ellison (Lloyds British GBmoto Racing Kawasaki) 124
Ryuichi Kiyonari (Buildbase BMW) 107
Tommy Bridewell (Milwaukee Yamaha) 101
Chris Walker (Lloyds British GBmoto Racing Kawasaki) 96
Eleven points currently separate Billy McConnell, Alastair Seeley and Graeme Gowland in the Motorpoint British Supersport Championship standings and the rivalry will intensify as the contenders head to Thruxton this weekend (1/2/3 August) for the third round of the season.
McConnell missed out on a podium finish twice at the last round at Brands Hatch and the Australian will be pushing to extend his advantage at the Hampshire circuit, but Seeley is brimming with confidence following his double victory last time out for the Mar-Train Yamaha team.
Smiths Racing Triumph’s second title contender, Gowland, has been determined to make amends for crashing out of contention for the win in the Feature race at Knockhill and after a pair of second places at Brands Hatch, trails Seeley by a single point.
Luke Stapleford and Luke Jones lead the protagonists bidding to close in on the leading trio with the pair already scoring podium finishes this season and they could dent the points haul of their rivals.
Thruxton is the home round for the Gearlink Kawasaki team and Glenn Irwin will be bidding for a resurgent performance as he bids to return to the podium for the first time since Oulton Park in May.
The top ten also features Tyco Suzuki’s Taylor Mackenzie and Team Traction Control’s James Rispoli, whilst in the Evo battle Alex Olsen heads the standings from Tim Hastings and Grant Whitaker.
Motorpoint British Supersport Championship standings after Brands Hatch GP:
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