Glenn Irwin wins Silverstone opener – Jason O’Halloran on pole
Josh Brookes second in Race 1 and fourth overall in standings, O’Halloran fifth
Glenn Irwin mastered the changing conditions in the opening MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship race at Silverstone to claim his first ever victory in the series, becoming the eighth different race winner ahead of the all-important Showdown six decider, while Josh Brookes took runner up.
For Honda Racing the three-stage qualifying session was strong, with Jason O’Halloran claiming his first pole position of the year aboard the all-new Fireblade.
The O’Show went on to enjoy a strong qualifying at the 3.67-mile circuit, scoring fast times throughout all three stages. Easing the Fireblade into the final stage, O’Halloran secured the fastest time marching his way straight to pole position for the opening race.
“Well today has certainly been a mixed bag! For qualifying I felt immediately comfortable with the Fireblade, we had been struggling in yesterday’s wet conditions and did make some changes heading in qualifying after the dry practice this morning. During the first stage of qualifying I knew we were going in the right direction and we were going to be stronger. We didn’t make any big changes during qualifying, but just kept building and trying to improve the lap times, which we did. Getting the pole position ahead of the race felt great, it’s the first one of the year so I felt positive going into the race. It was just such a shame with the weather and the mixed conditions for the race, it’s easy to say but had it have been dry, I reckon we’d have finished at the front. But the result today isn’t so bad, I am still within the Showdown reach, so tomorrow it’s all to play for to get my place secured. Hopefully tomorrow will bring two dry races and we can claw back some points and get a little further up the standings.”
The race was declared wet as the track continued to dry in places, making it a gamble on tyre choice on the grid. The decision on tyre choice before the race saw Peter Hickman decide to leave the grid before the sighting lap; he had opted for a rear slick tyre and then changed to a wet tyre combination and started from pitlane.
At the start Jake Dixon led Josh Brookes and John Hopkins with Irwin in fourth, but by the third lap Brookes had been attacking and he hit the front of the field for the Anvil Hire TAG Yamaha team, with Hopkins in second and Irwin up to third.
Showdown six contender Leon Haslam was running in the top eight when he crashed out at Club unhurt, ending his chance of adding to his Podium Point tally for the JG Speedfit Kawasaki team.
Irwin claimed the lead on the sixth lap for the Be Wiser Ducati team as the disappointment continued for another one of the Showdown six contenders when James Ellison retired his McAMS Yamaha from the race. The DNF now puts him out of contention for a place in the Showdown.
Irwin was managing the lead at the front of the field, which he held to the finish ahead of Brookes and Hopkins, who became the sixth different podium finisher of the season, as the battle for fourth raged between Showdown six contenders Dixon and Mossey. The pair traded blows but the RAF Regular & Reserves Kawasaki rider was able to withstand the attack to hold onto the position and narrow the points deficit to three points.
“I always believed I could win a BSB race this year and my injury came at the worst possible time but to finally win one is a mega feeling. It’s something I’ve wanted to do since I was a kid and although I was nowhere in the wet in free practice, I knew I could be there in the race. The team did a great job in changing the engine after qualifying and I’ve learnt a lot from Shakey in terms of managing the tyres. There’s no Showdown for me in 2017 but we’re still very much part of the races as we’ve shown today.”
Christian Iddon delivered a heroic performance, holding on to sixth place for the Tyco BMW team despite opting for a slick rear tyre on the grid before the start of the race despite areas of the circuit still being wet, but with some sections drying rapidly. The result keeps him in contention ahead of tomorrow’s two races with just nine points between him and Mossey in sixth.
Taylor Mackenzie was seventh on the Bennetts Suzuki to score his best result of the season ahead of Jakub Smrz and Hickman, who climbed the order to ninth place. Bradley Ray completed the top ten for Buildbase Suzuki.
Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne was the first rider to confirm his position in the Showdown despite a crash in the opening race; the defending champion was up to sixth place after passing Iddon, when he slid off at Farm unhurt.
“Firstly, I’m delighted to see Glenn win his first BSB race and I’m made up for him. The conditions out there were not ideal with it being half dry and half wet and I was disappointed to crash Shane Byrneout so late on so the race was a bit of a non-event. I lost the front on the last lap and smashed the bike up so it’s been a disappointing afternoon for me personally but we’ll regroup tomorrow.”
Jason O’Halloran was the final rider in contention for a top six position in eleventh place, despite setting pole position for the opening race at Silverstone.
MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship, Silverstone – Race 1 Results
- Glenn Irwin (Be Wiser Ducati)
- Josh Brookes (Anvil Hire TAG Yamaha) +3.434s
- John Hopkins (Moto Rapido Ducati) +5.605s
- Jake Dixon (RAF Regular & Reserves Kawasaki) +15.936s
- Luke Mossey (JG Speedfit Kawasaki) +16.112s
- Christian Iddon (Tyco BMW) +30.044s
- Taylor Mackenzie (Bennetts Suzuki) +53.685s
- Jakub Smrz (Lloyd & Jones PR Racing BMW) +56.728s
- Peter Hickman (Smiths Racing BMW) +57.728s
- Bradley Ray (Buildbase Suzuki) +57.959s
MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship standings after Silverstone Race 1
- Shane Byrne (Be Wiser Ducati) 219
- Leon Haslam (JG Speedfit Kawasaki) 209
- Peter Hickman (Smiths Racing BMW) 200
- Josh Brookes (Anvil Hire TAG Yamaha) 187
- Jason O’Halloran (Honda Racing) 183
- Luke Mossey (JG Speedfit Kawasaki) 172
- Jake Dixon (RAF Regular & Reserves Kawasaki) 169
- Christian Iddon (Tyco BMW) 163