BSB Assen Image Gallery A | Images by Jon Jessop
BSB Assen Image Gallery A | Images by Jon Jessop
BSB Assen Race one:
- Josh Waters (Tyco Suzuki)
- Ryuichi Kiyonari (Buildbase BMW) +0.184s
- Stuart Easton (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki) +23.904s
- James Ellison (Lloyds British GBmoto Racing Kawasaki) +24.637s
- Christian Iddon (Alstare Bimota Junior Team) +29.741s
- Dan Linfoot (Quattro Plant Kawasaki) +37.273s
BSB Assen Race two:
- Shane Byrne (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki)
- Ryuichi Kiyonari (Buildbase BMW) +0.152s
- Tommy Bridewell (Milwaukee Yamaha) +0.460s
- Dan Linfoot (Quattro Plant Kawasaki) +4.170s
- John Hopkins (Tyco Suzuki) +8.759s
- Stuart Easton (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki) +12.203s
BSB Assen Championship standings:
- Shane Byrne (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki) 587
- Ryuichi Kiyonari (Buildbase BMW) 575
- Josh Brookes (Milwaukee Yamaha) 536
- Tommy Bridewell (Milwaukee Yamaha) 531
- Dan Linfoot (Quattro Plant Kawasaki) 524
- Chris Walker (Lloyds British GBmoto Racing Kawasaki) 505
BSB Assen Race Report
Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne bounced back from a high-speed first race crash to snatch a dramatic last corner victory over his arch rival Ryuichi Kiyonari as the “War for four” MCE Insurance British Superbike crowns intensified in the first Showdown round at Assen.
Byrne who hadn’t won a race since Knockhill in June, had fought hard to close in on Kiyonari throughout the weekend. In the second race the Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki rider made a decisive move through the final chicane on the last lap and won the dash to the line by 0.152s as the triple title-winners continued their fight for the crown.
“I’m over the moon. It has been a long time since I won a race though it was almost cruel to take it like that,” said Byrne as he enjoyed his 58th victory in the series. “I had looked at a way past Kiyo but it was going to be a bit of a gamble as on the last lap we were really close.
“My speed through the previous corner was a bit faster than his, and then I was along the side of his bike. I thought my bike had better stick and grip, or I am going to launch myself over the top to the moon. Luckily for me it held and I took the win in that one, making up for the first race when I threw it up the road. I had even decided that third place then was better than a crash!”
The opening race, run in wet conditions, brought early misery for Title Fighter Josh Brookes. The Milwaukee Yamaha rider failed to exit the pitlane before it closed for the sighting lap, which demoted him down the order to start from the back row of the grid. His disappointment was compounded further by a crash on the opening lap and he was then excluded for re-joining the race after falling.
Byrne had forged clear but it was Josh Waters, aboard the Tyco Suzuki, who was closing in and then taking the lead just into the second half of the race. Kiyonari moved second, but Byrne tumbled into the gravel and out of third place, handing the final podium position to his team-mate Stuart Easton.
Josh Waters: “I’m ‘rapt’ to have taken another win for Tyco Suzuki and I really enjoyed the conditions. Coming here for the first time I’d have been happy with solid single figure top-10 finishes but the boys really have perfected a top-class wet-weather set-up on the Tyco Suzuki GSX-R1000 and I just dug in, kept it upright and yeah, I’m really happy to get another BSB win. I made a poor start in race two and got caught-up and maybe was a little frustrated, but I’m satisfied enough with my weekend’s work and we can take away a lot of positives.”
Byrne rescued the situation with his second race victory, though his lead was halved to 12 points ahead of Kiyonari. Brookes suffered a DNF in race two with a clutch problem that dropped him to third in the overall standings with his team-mate Tommy Bridewell closing to within five points after a return to the podium with a third place finish.
Kiyonari said: “In race two I tried so hard for the win, so I am disappointed we didn’t beat Shakey. There was a lot of pressure especially in the beginning and I was too slow at the start of the race compared to the pace we had in free practice. Then at the end of the race my lap times were getting better and better. The last five laps I thought I will try a bit more and push even hard and then maybe we can have a win, but Shakey tried to pass me and I thought, ‘oh no he is coming’, so I tried harder and I made a mistake on the last lap. Shakey passed me in the last chicane and there was nothing I could do. I want to win again at Silverstone now!”
Milwaukee Yamaha’s Brookes and Bridewell leave Assen holding third and fourth in the overall standings respectively ahead of Silverstone.
Brookes said: “In race one I had to start from the back of the grid as I entered the pit lane. At the start of the race I felt good and everything was going well until turn four. I thought ‘I can go round people’ and I started to accelerate, until I ran straight in to the back of Kirkham – he just didn’t accelerate and I fell off. I always seem to make things difficult for myself every year, but it is what it is and I couldn’t have done anything different.”
Bridewell said: “The conditions were horrible in race one and we struggled to be honest, but I knew after qualifying we had the pace in dry. Ninth in the first one was at least some points and then starting down the grid for the second race didn’t help me but it did make it more fun that’s for sure. When I got into third and Shakey and Kiyo were there, they were riding nice and clean, whereas I could have done with them duffing each other up a bit harder.
“The one place that I knew I could definitely have a go was where Shakey was strong and every lap he was lining up Kiyo into the last chicane. All I kept thinking was ‘go, go now don’t wait until the last lap as then I can have a go’. I thought he would probably wait until the last lap and then I started losing the front and there wasn’t much more I could have done without crashing. It was important to finish third for the championship, third isn’t ideally where we want to be but it is better than a DNF or worse. We are closer to Josh now so it is all closing up and I am looking forward to Silverstone now.”
Milwaukee Yamaha Team Owner Shaun Muir concluded: “What can I say? It has been a complete disaster for Josh. Race one couldn’t have gone any worse – missing the pitlane exit and then a crash, it goes without saying that was a huge disappointment for all of us. In race two it was a clutch problem that forced him out of the race and that left him scoring no points at the most important part of the season.
“On the other side of the garage Tommy showed real fire and determination to fight for that podium in the second race, especially from where he started on the grid and it was arguably his best performance of the season.
“It’s a test of character and strength now to turn this around, but as a team we want and need to bounce back now at Silverstone.”
John Hopkins: “I’m really frustrated as I know I had the pace for the podium if not the win, but I really had to use up the best of my front tyre running deep into the turns to stay with the front four. Staying in the draft on the straights was pretty tough and once the front tyre went off, we were tucking the front everywhere and I couldn’t risk crashing. Yeah it’s a tough one. Through the fast-flowing stuff I could hang with them no problem but on the straights we were losing-out. But we did what we could today and just have to regroup and look to Silverstone for that podium finish.”
Philip Neill – Tyzo Suzuki Team Manager: “A great gutsy win from Josh Waters in race one when he could so easily have settled for a finish in very difficult conditions. We have to take into consideration it was the lad’s first time here at Assen, which is no easy track to perfect, and eighth in race two is also a good effort considering he had a sluggish start.
“John was hampered by his tyre-choice early in race one, but when the track started to dry he was coming through very quickly on the intermediate rear; had it stayed dry I’m certain he would have been top-five at least. That’s part of the gamble in those conditions and unfortunately for John, like many others, he lost out.
“In race two it was great to see him battling at the front-end in the dry with Kiyo and Shakey. Unfortunately he couldn’t turn it into a podium finish, but we will analyse his thoughts on the race and the data and see what we can improve for Silverstone in a fortnight.”
Jed Metcher had joined the PR Kawasaki squad as a wildcard entrant at Assen and impressed with 7th and 13th place finishes in the two Superbike bouts.