BSB 2015 is Go!
2015 MCE British Superbike Championship gets underway at Donington Park
After six months of waiting, the MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship will explode into life this weekend (4/5/6 April) for the opening round of the 2015 season at Donington Park.
Nearly 40 riders from across the world will line up for BSB 2015, with an unknown mix of upcoming young riders and rookies going up against the established guard.
2015 Championship to feature nearly 40 riders representing 12 nations (UK, Japan, Australia, Italy, Denmark, Sweden, Brazil, Czech Republic, Spain, South Africa)
Seven of the world’s biggest manufacturers represented in 2015 (Kawasaki, BMW, Yamaha, Honda, Suzuki, Ducati, MV Agusta)
The 2015 season is set to be one of the most hotly contested in BSB history as four-time winner Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne returns with the PBM Kawasaki team to challenge for an unprecedented fifth crown. Despite a crash in pre-season testing resulting in a broken hand, he was able to return to the final test at Donington last week and top the timesheets.
He’ll once again be facing stiff competition from Buildbase BMW star Ryuichi Kiyonari, who lost the chance to battle for his fourth BSB crown following a crash at the final round of 2014.
It is a fresh start for the Milwaukee Yamaha team as they prepare to compete with the all-new Yamaha YZF-R1 Superbike with Josh Brookes and former MotoGP star Broc Parkes. Also returning from MotoGP is Michael Laverty, who joins Tommy Bridewell at Tyco BMW.
Former champion Tommy Hill is back in the paddock as Team Manager in the all new Be Wiser Superbike team, who will be competing on Kawasaki ZX-10R’s with Chris Walker and Danny Buchan. The JG Speedfit Kawasaki team retain the services of James Ellison while joining him in the GBmoto run team is James Westmoreland, whilst Halsall Suzuki have signed wet weather stars Josh Waters and Christian Iddon.
2013 Champions Honda Racing also return to full-time action, having sat out much of 2014. The three rider team consists of Dan Linfoot, Jason O’Halloran and the world’s fastest female, Jenny Tinmouth
Clash of the champions
Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne (Sittingbourne) returns as the defending four-time champion, but starts the opening round still recovering from a heavy winter testing crash. The PBM Kawasaki rider underwent surgery just three weeks ago on broken bones in his hand and despite topping the recent official test, knows the two 20-lap races will be a tough way to start his campaign.
Byrne said: “We have done absolutely everything possible to be ready for this weekend. I have the last few days now to spend some more time in the hyperbaric chamber and possibly have some more laser therapy and whatever else to get it all under control.
“The test was extremely successful; I wasn’t sure how my hand was going to be as I haven’t done a lot of laps pre-season, so to come out and be fastest was good. I am hopefully going to get a fair bit by the first round. There will be guys who say they felt great and have never been fitter, but I would definitely be lying if I said that right now. Donington comes hard when you are fit and strong, so fingers crossed we will be another step faster.”
Byrne’s championship nemesis from 2014, Ryuichi Kiyonari (Louth) returns with the Buildbase BMW team and has his focus set on equalling his rival’s four titles. The Japanese ace had been setting the pace at the Donington Park official test before crashing out in the closing stages unhurt and heads to the event with confidence high after his double win at the track in 2014.
Kiyonari said: “I am very happy with how we finished the test last week because that was only our third test. I felt sore after the crash, but I will still be pushing hard this weekend and I am feeling confident. I think Donington Park is a good place to start the championship for me, the team and BMW as we had a double win there last year. We will be trying everything we can to keep pushing harder!”
World class grid lines-up to take on Shakey – BSB 2015 Aussie Invasion
The 2015 season marks the full-time debut of Australian Broc Parkes in the Milwaukee Yamaha squad alongside multiple title contender Josh Brookes. Parkes joins the MCE BSB grid from MotoGP, and has previously been a World Supersport Championship runner-up. He also scored MCE BSB podium finishes when he was a wild-card at Brands Hatch during the 2009 season.
Broc Parkes – “The test with everyone else was good to see where we were at and I think it was a pretty good indication. I was hoping to be in the top ten at the test and I was just outside of it, but not too far on the times. In general I think we will come back with a good plan for the first race. It is definitely going to be an experience for me at the first round as I haven’t raced with many of the riders. There are a lot of young riders who want to make a name for themselves and we know the first round will be the most difficult for us. It is hard to know what to expect – but I am normally more of a racer, so I am hoping that we will be ready on race day.”
Josh Brookes – “At the moment I can see that the first round is going to be really close as at the test there were a lot of riders able to run very similar lap times, but that is the typical nature of Donington; we have seen in the past in qualifying that everyone is really close together. Right now we have to focus on Donington and what we learnt from the test last week and have that as a priority for the first round. After that we can look at the rest of the season, get some more time on the new bike and use the experience to move forward and keep improving.”
Australian Billy McConnell steps up to the Superbike class after lifting the Motorpoint British Supersport Championship with the Smiths Racing team last season and there is more international flavour in the shape of Robbin Harms (Denmark), Jakub Smrz (Czech) and Filip Backlund (Sweden).
The mighty Honda Racing return to BSB 2015
Title-winners Honda Racing return for the 2015 campaign after their development season following their championship win with Alex Lowes in 2013. A three-strong rider line-up of Showdown contender Dan Linfoot (Knaresborough), Jason O’Halloran (Market Rasen) and racing’s fastest female Jenny Tinmouth (Ellesmere Port), means the team are back in force for the new campaign.
The established contenders
Race-winner James Ellison (Kendal) meanwhile returns with the JG Speedfit Kawasaki team, whilst Tommy Bridewell (Devizes) switches to the Tyco BMW team alongside Michael Laverty (Toomebridge) who returns from MotoGP.
Young pretenders set to make their mark in BSB 2015
The young guns are ready to shake up the order and 21-year-old Danny Buchan (Essex) has already made an impression, ending the official test second fastest on the Be Wiser Kawasaki, the new team managed by 2011 champion Tommy Hill.
Buchan said: “We were chipping away at the test and the times were coming easily. I spoke to my crew chief at the end of the day and there is so much more still to come. It has been a good start and I have a great team behind me so we are really excited to see what we can do.”
Quattro Plant Kawasaki’s 22-year-old Luke Mossey (Cambridge) and Team WD40 Kawasaki’s Taylor Mackenzie are also lining up ready to make their mark in their debut season after challenging in the Motorpoint British Supersport Championship.
TT stars set for first BSB 2015 competition
The opening round of the season has also prompted some one-off appearances from TT contenders Ian Hutchinson (PBM Kawasaki) in the MCE BSB class and TV star and road race hero Guy Martin with the Smiths Racing Triumph team in the Motorpoint British Supersport Championship.
2014 BSB Donington Flashback
Race one result:
- Ryuichi Kiyonari (Buildbase BMW)
- Shane Byrne (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki) +0.184s
- Tommy Bridewell (Milwaukee Yamaha) +1.188s
- Josh Brookes (Milwaukee Yamaha) +1.614s
- Stuart Easton (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki) +4.519s
- Josh Waters (Tyco Suzuki) +5.298s
- Peter Hickman (RAF Reserves Honda) +5.598s
- Dan Linfoot (Quattro Plant Kawasaki) +10.852s
- Patric Muff (Bathams BMW) +15.000s
- James Westmoreland (Buildbase BMW) +15.104s
Race two result:
- Ryuichi Kiyonari (Buildbase BMW)
- Shane Byrne (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki) +0.489s
- Josh Brookes (Milwaukee Yamaha) +1.183s
- Stuart Easton (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki) +7.438s
- Josh Waters (Tyco Suzuki) +10.874s
- Julien Da Costa (Honda Racing) +11.764s
- Peter Hickman (RAF Reserves Honda) +15.039s
- James Westmoreland (Buildbase BMW) +16.102s
- John Hopkins (Tyco Suzuki) +16.965s
- Chris Walker (Lloyds British GBmoto Racing Kawasaki) +17.190s