The MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship Showdown continued dramatically at Assen as Title Fighters Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne and Ryuichi Kiyonari crashed out of Datatag Extreme Qualifying, but it was delight for the Alstare Bimota Junior team who claimed a historic first pole position with Christian Iddon.
Kiyonari had led the dry track sessions, but as conditions began to change Byrne high-sided himself into the gravel, ending his hopes of a front row start and he lines up in twelfth on the grid for the opening race. Kiyonari then equalled his rival by crashing out in Q3 after a strong lap moved him second, but he later dropped down the order to head the second row in fourth.
Iddon meanwhile mastered the changeable conditions and stunned the Title Fighters with a determined ride to score his first pole position in the Championship.
“I am pleasantly surprised as I was not expecting this,” said Iddon. “We had been working hard to set the bike for the dry and we are not quite there, but in these conditions it was a case of going out and enjoying it. We will have to see what improvements we can make now tomorrow to try and get in the mix with the leading guys.”
American former MotoGP rider John Hopkins starts his Tyco Suzuki alongside Iddon on the front row with Tommy Bridewell, the top qualifier among the six Title Fighters, completing the front row on his Milwaukee Yamaha.
Bridewell said: “It was a bit of a shame I didn’t get another pole position, but the conditions weren’t easy! I went out quite early on just to find my feet and went steady, but I could see that however much I wanted to improve my bike the conditions were so difficult that it wouldn’t allow me to. I stayed out and to be honest I could have done with a fresher tyre at the end as it felt like it was shredding a bit as it was drying. I was on provisional pole for part of it and then got pipped, but a front row start was good enough. To be top of the Title Fighters is good and we just have to keep concentrating. We have made a massive improvement with the Milwaukee Yamaha and we will just keep on again tomorrow.”
Kiyonari starts ahead of Dan Linfoot on the Quattro Plant Kawasaki with Aussie Josh Brookes completing a second row locked out by Title Fighters.
Kiyonari said: “Qualifying was difficult today, but it was the same for everybody. In the dry it was a lot better and we have a good pace. I was feeling happy and then it started to rain and that made it more difficult. I did my lap because I wasn’t sure if my one before would be fast enough because when it is like these conditions it can change very quickly. Then I had a crash and I was very disappointed because I just lost the front and it happened so fast. I think tomorrow is ok and I will have a long sleep so I am ready!”
Brookes said: “In summary of qualifying, in the first session we made some changes and I didn’t really like them so we changed it again for Q2. I had a problem with the front tyre and it meant I spent longer in the pit box and everyone had done more laps when perhaps the conditions were better. I got one flying lap in but I didn’t see where it would put us and it can change so quickly with positions that I knew I had to have another go. I carried on and then nearly crashed – I went across the gravel and rejoined and once my heart rate went back to normal I regrouped ready for Q3. It felt a bit like Cadwell Park, the bike didn’t seem to work in the wet conditions so hopefully it is dry tomorrow.”
Jon Kirkham heads up the third row ahead of Title Fighter Chris Walker on the Lloyds British GBmoto Kawasaki and Martin Jessopp in a top ten that featured five different manufacturers.
Byrne said: “It obviously isn’t ideal. The Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki team have done a great job so far this weekend and we have been improving all the time and in the dry it is down to a tenth between Kiyo and myself. Hopefully it will make for some really close racing between us tomorrow, the only thing nobody can control is the weather and if it is wet or dry but wither way we need to take it to them.
“To fall down when I did was a strange crash because I saw Hickman fall down and I thought ‘ah Peter you don’t want to be going down there, that’s not cool’ and as I rolled in there, I wasn’t even trying. I was done and on an in lap and I just chopped the throttle shut as I went into the left and my bike did exactly the same and flicked me over the top and gave me a bit of a smack so not an ideal scenario but we will be back tomorrow as that is another day.”
British Supersport | BSB Assen
Alastair Seeley powered back into contention to regain the Motorpoint British Supersport crown with his sixth victory of the season aboard his MarTrain Yamaha in changeable conditions at BSB Assen.
Seeley’s success came in a problematic race for his two main rivals. Pole sitter Graeme Gowland crashed out of contention on the opening lap while his Smiths Triumph team-mate and series leader Billy McConnell came home in eleventh place.
Seeley said: “I’m not giving up on the title – we’ve had a bit of lull in recent races so let’s hope that this win brings me back. I had a little crash on Friday but we came back from that. In the race I got a gap early on and was able to maintain it.”
James Rispoli brought his Team Traction Control Yamaha home in second place and said: “That feels amazing and now this will be a good evening and it has given me confidence for tomorrow’s race.
The young American was just ahead of Luke Jones aboard the Acumen Industrial Services Triumph with the Hereford rider delighted to be back on the podium. “I left it late, having been a bit frustrated at the start, getting a bit caught up. It was hard work but when I got some clear track I just kept on pushing, so it is so good to be back on the podium.”
Glenn Irwin, who lost ground on the opening lap when he ran off the track as Gowland crashed, but fought back to take fourth on the Gearlink Kawasaki ahead of local rider Kervin Bos with Jake Dixon in sixth.
Motorpoint British Supersport Championship, Assen, Sprint race result:
Alastair Seeley (MarTrain Yamaha) 20m 26.371s
James Rispoli (Team Traction Control Yamaha) +9.776s
Luke Jones (Acumen Industrial Services Triumph) +9.893s
Glenn Irwin (Gearlink Kawasaki) +12.137s
Kervin Bos (KGC Ten Kate Honda) +12.438s
Motorpoint British Supersport Championship standings:
Billy McConnell (Smiths Triumph) 306
Graeme Gowland (Smiths Triumph) 300
Alastair Seeley (MarTrain Yamaha 267
Glenn Irwin (Gearlink Kawasaki) 245
Luke Jones (Acumen Industrial Services Triumph) 219
Eastern Airways British Sidecar Championship Qualifying
Title chasing Sean Hegarty and James Neave comfortably took pole start, half a second clear of Ricky Stevens and Ryan Charlwood with former champion Roger Lovelock/Aki Alto and Andy Peach/Charlie Richardson starting from the second row.
Ducati TriOptions Cup Qualifying
Rob Guiver took pole start by just 0.052secs from Dennis Hobbs with Marty Nutt completing the front row at the expense of series leader Leon Morris, fourth fastest, and a second down.
Motul British Motostar Championship Qualifying
Local riders Bo Bendsneyder and Thomas van Leeuwen, riding for Dutch Moto3 Championship pointd topped qualifying with Bradley Ray aboard the FAB Racing EE 125GP completing the front row. British series Moto3 riders Joe Irving, Ernst Dubbink and Olly Simpson start from the second row, while Taz Taylor and Edward Rendell, ninth and tenth overall, ran second and third in the qualifiers for the British 125GP series.
Ducati TriOptions Cup – Saturday race
Dennis Hobbs underlined his challenge for the crown with this hard fought fourth victory of the campaign as the series leading Leon Morris was forced back into fourth place in a hectic final lap, cutting his lead to ten points. Marty Nutt finished the race in second place, ahead of Rob Guiver who had led the first half dozen laps before Hobbs made the decisive move.
Eastern Airways British Sidecar Championship – Saturday race
Series leaders Sean Hegarty and James Neave led throughout but second place for Roger Lovelock/Aki Alto maintains their hopes of regaining the crown as there are double points at stake in the final round.
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