England versus Australia as BSB Showdown scrum hits Silverstone
This weekend (2/3/4 October) England and Australia will clash in a head-to-head battle for supremacy and at Silverstone the home heroes will be determined to quash Josh Brookes’ aspirations of extending his lead in the MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship.
Brookes started the Showdown with an impressive double win last time out at Assen for the Milwaukee Yamaha team to lead the championship standings by 28 points, but the home defenders are lining up to tackle their Australian rival and bring down his advantage ahead of the Brands Hatch season finale.
Defending champion Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne needs to respond with a resurgent performance this weekend as he continues his ‘strive for five’ titles after losing ground in the standings at Assen. The PBM Kawasaki rider is confident of a strong retaliation at Silverstone following a positive test earlier in the week and has strong form at the circuit – finishing in the top two positions in each of the previous six races.
James Ellison is also ready to stake his claim to the championship title as he tries to overhaul the leading pair this weekend. A double podium finish at the opening round of the Showdown at Assen boosted his chances and puts the JG Speedfit Kawasaki rider within striking distance of the top.
Michael Laverty and Tommy Bridewell are hoping they can charge through the field for the Tyco BMW team; the fast and flat out nature of the Northamptonshire circuit could prove to be the ideal match for the BMW and both riders are out to score big points this weekend.
Dan Linfoot had a disastrous time at Assen and paid the penalty by scoring just two points but the Honda Racing rider is determined to turn his fortunes around this weekend, however outside of the top six in the standings the Showdown spoilers are menacingly lining up to attack.
Richard Cooper on the Buildbase BMW currently holds seventh position in the standings but after a podium finish at Assen, rookie Luke Mossey is just eight points adrift and ready to pull off a repeat performance for Quattro Plant Kawasaki this weekend.
Fellow rookie Danny Buchan will line up in the title-defending PBM Kawasaki team this weekend in place of Stuart Easton, who continues his recovery from injury, and he could be the wing man that Byrne needs on Sunday.
In the Supersport category Anthony West will take the reigns of the Tsingtao MV Agusta F3 675 after splitting with his Moto2 squad earlier this month.
Josh Brookes (Milwaukee Yamaha) – Championship leader: 603 points – “I have a lot of confidence in the bike and the team and I hope that we can take the momentum we had at Assen into this weekend at Silverstone and keep it going. I am not being cocky about it because for instance at Oulton Park we thought we would be in a better place on the second time around and look what happened there.
“I think everyone is going to be trying hard this weekend for sure, but you can only have willingness and then the rest is down to what happens during the weekend on the track. I know I have gone to Silverstone before with a determination and need but I didn’t have all the ingredients to achieve the result.
“I think Tommy [Bridewell] has always gone well at Silverstone and the BMWs seemed to be going well at Assen so you could draw some similarities there; Tommy will be ready to put the world to right. Then Shakey, you have to expect to be as strong as ever there so I just need to be on my guard. James Ellison will be there too so I think on a championship level I need to be mindful of where my competition is, but on a personal level I only have desire to win.”
Shane Byrne (PBM Kawasaki) – Second in the standings: 575 – “We started off Assen being the first of the Showdown rounds and as a team PBM Kawasaki expected to be strong at the faster tracks, like Assen. However in reality we realised that the fast, flowing corners are where we are struggling at the moment and that is something as a team we are working hard together to resolve.
“We have had a test before Silverstone so we can arrive at the next round in a better shape because nothing short of five wins is enough for me and the team. I am more than up for it and there should be no reason we can’t fight for them. I am doing everything I can and so are the team to make it happen.
“I know how easy it is to see a lead disappear in the Showdown; I am not saying that will necessarily happen, but it is easy for things to turn around so quickly at this point of the season. I have no doubt that we can beat him [Josh] again and you can guarantee I will be doing everything to make that happen.”
James Ellison (JG Speedfit Kawasaki) – Third in the standings: 562 – “Assen was good for us and it wasn’t a surprise for us to be on the podium but to be honest we wanted two wins so two second places was a bit of a disappointment in that respect. We haven’t given up on the championship and we won’t be until it is decided – we will go down kicking and screaming!
“Confidence is a big thing and Josh is on the crest of a wave right now but we have big confidence too ahead of Silverstone and that has been gathering since we have returned from injury. I can’t wait to get going at Silverstone as I feel like we are getting stronger every day, it’s not perfect but it’s getting better.
“We were lacking a bit of power at Assen which I think was where we lost out to Josh a bit, but as a team we have a bit of a plan for that because we need to put a stop to him winning in race one.We need to be taking points back off him for the championship and that’s when we will see how he deals with pressure. For sure Shakey will be stepping it up again after Assen and we need to be finishing in front of him too.
“Silverstone always produces some great dogfights and there is nothing I love more than a great battle so hopefully it’s like that! Hopefully we will have some more of the other guys too because if they get between some of us, hopefully between myself and Josh or Shakey, that will be great for our championship position.”
Michael Laverty (Tyco BMW) – Fourth in the standings: 523 – “I am really content ahead of this weekend as I have been chasing a feeling with the bike all year and at Assen we found what we were looking for, so I am feeling really quite satisfied and ready for this weekend. I think we also haven’t found the full potential either; at Assen the conditions were changeable and that means we still have plenty of scope to make further improvements. We can arrive this weekend and hopefully be right on the money and we want more podiums from this weekend that’s for sure.
“I think going into this weekend the top step has to be my goal because it is definitely on the horizon. The BMW has to be one of the fastest bikes out there and so we can’t wait for the Hangar Straight this weekend! I feel that this track will be one where we can beat the Yamahas and the Kawasakis because of the top end speed. I think Josh [Brookes] is on a roll at the moment and is the rider to beat but he will have to put up a fight this weekend.
“From a team point of view I know Tyco BMW are ready to fight for the podium with both myself and Tommy [Bridewell], we know Shakey will want to get one over on Josh too. Then you have to thrown into the equation Christian Iddon, Luke Mossey and Dan Linfoot who will want a better weekend after Assen. That’s going to be one big freight train on Sunday!”
Tommy Bridewell (Tyco BMW) – Fifth in the standings: 515 – “I think looking back on Assen straight afterwards I was perhaps more negative than I should have been. When I look at it again now we had the brand new swingarm and the conditions were so changeable from dry to wet and then we went back to what we knew on Saturday. Although it was like riding a different bike I don’t feel like we had a true assessment. Ideally we would have had more time in the same conditions.
“I think at Silverstone we will revert back to the new swingarm and give it another go. It’s so difficult to win and we had a tough one at Assen, but you need those weekends sometimes as they make you work even harder. It is difficult when we don’t have the magic answer but we know we want more at Silverstone.
“I am not approaching these weekends looking at the championship, you could say we want top fives or podiums, but if I can’t be at least top three or can see a win then where we finish is actually irrelevant to me. A podium makes you feel like you have achieved something in a race and I know that sometimes I should take a step back, but I can’t. I want to be fighting and know that I have given everything I have to be fighting for the win.
“I have no interest in fighting for just top five or even the podium, I want to be winning. If there is a chance of the wins at Silverstone then I will risk everything to make it happen.”
Dan Linfoot (Honda Racing) – Sixth in the standings: 509 – “Obviously the first task for me is to put Assen to bed; it wasn’t nice watching that race back on TV that’s for sure, but we had a good debrief with the team at the workshop last week and we can go to Silverstone now with a fresh approach.
“Silverstone is a similar style track to Assen and we need to put two strong weekends together now there and at Brands Hatch. We know Silverstone was a strong track for Alex [Lowes] in 2013 and we know we can build on that next weekend.
“At the last few rounds we have been having a ‘Friday feeling’ and we haven’t been able to start the weekend as strongly as we would like and so I feel like we need to change our approach a little bit. Assen has definitely made me more determined to come back stronger at Silverstone; that is the only way we can bounce back.
“We are not that far away from Tommy and Michael in the standings and so they are the realistic target for me and my aim has to be to try and overhaul them in the championship to do the best job I can for Honda Racing.”
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