The MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship reaches a crucial stage at Donington Park this weekend (5/6/7 September). The top six riders for the Showdown will be decided and they will be the contenders who fight for the title at the final three rounds.
The top four positions are already confirmed, but two remain up for grabs.
Triple champions Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne and Ryuichi Kiyonari have both secured Showdown places as they continue their ‘War for Four’ MCE BSB titles. Australian Josh Brookes and his Milwaukee Yamaha team-mate Tommy Bridewell are also set for the title fight. But the final two places are still to be won at Donington Park.
Brookes said: “The test we had at Assen was really valuable because Cadwell Park didn’t go that well for us so it was really important to clear our minds of that and have a good run out at the test. We made a few changes that are more suited to that track compared to the more conventional tracks we ride on. We still have more to improve at the event, but we have a good foundation. Donington Park is one of the last shakedowns really to get it right before the Showdown, but of course I am going there to win the races.”
Bridewell said: “I am behind on the podium points a bit so I could do with scoring some more podiums at Donington Park. At the test at the start of the year I was sixth fastest there, which was pretty good after the big crash I had testing in Spain. I am looking forward to going there and not having to think, ‘I need to beat him’, or ‘I need to finish here’ to be in the Showdown, so in that way there is no pressure and no stress so I can come out and enjoy it and have some fun. But when I say no pressure, I still put it on myself to go out and get another couple of wins – we will see!”
Quattro Plant Kawasaki’s Dan Linfoot and home hero Chris ‘Stalker’ Walker from nearby Nottingham currently hold the positions, but they cannot afford for anything to go wrong, otherwise Stuart Easton on the second Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki will be able to snatch it away from them at the final stage.
Linfoot said: “We lost our way a little bit at Cadwell Park with set-up and I had a crash on Sunday and I lost a lot of confidence with the front of the bike. We worked through quite a lot of changes at the Assen test and I found a really good feeling that I was happy with. We are in a strong position now and I want to be fighting for podiums – that is our aim for the final rounds, starting at Donington Park.”
Walker said: “I am one of the Showdown contenders and know I only have one foot in the door and the other is teetering on the edge, so my plan is to go and have a good strong weekend because I am desperate to get back on the podium again. Donington is one of my favourite circuits in the world and I absolutely love the place. I used to watch my dad club racing there years ago so it is a special place.”
Byrne leads the standings and wants to return to winning ways as he’s not sealed a victory since Knockhill in June. Byrne said: “I have my position in the Showdown, which is cool, but I want nothing more than two wins at Donington Park. I have been asked a couple of times, because I am already in the Showdown, if I will just settle for results and the answer is simple – I want to win for myself and Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki. We want those last ten podium points and we will be pushing as hard as we can for the best possible results on Sunday.”
The Leicester-based Buildbase BMW team missed out on glory at Cadwell Park, but Kiyonari is focused on closing the deficit to Byrne and Brookes, who currently sit ahead of him in the standings ahead of this weekend.
Kiyonari said: “I now look at Donington Park as a second home round as it is the team’s local circuit. We have lots of positives from the last races and I think that some of this will transfer to this weekend. We are improving all the time and this should be a good track for me. I want to get to Donington Park and be fighting for the wins again – nothing else!”
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