BSB Silverstone: One hand on the title?

Josh Brookes continued his stunning run of form this weekend at the penultimate round of the MCE British Superbike season, securing the double win and increasing his points lead of 47 points.

Brookes stood on top for both races at Silverstone

Photo: MCE BSB

Putting in a qualifying time of 2.03.984 which could have easily got him on the MotoGP grid earlier this year on top of setting a circuit lap record, the Australian is on the form of his life and it seems to have come at just the right time.

Race report:

Returning American John Hopkins stormed through into first position on the opening lap however the Lloyds British Moto Rapido rider was soon caught by championship contender Brookes. Starting from the fourth row of the grid Shane Byrne made up two positions in the opening lap, starting his charge for the front.

James Ellison shot past Hopkins as he fought to keep up with Brookes however despite staying up with the leader, tyre issues forced the JG Speedfit Kawasaki rider to lose a podium spot in the closing laps. Reigning champion Byrne was able to move through the pack and take second position behind flying Brookes, with Peter Hickman securing a stunning third position.

Byrne started race two from pole position aboard his PBM Kawasaki which meant he was able to get a stronger start and led in the early laps. Ellison was keen to improve on his race one result and moved through the pack, making two positions in two corners ahead of Hickman and Dan Linfoot.

By the third lap Brookes had made his way through the pack and was up into second after starting from fourth on the grid. Approaching the race in an ever mature fashion the Australian made his move on race leader Ellison in the closing stages and made it stick, as Byrne slipped down the field behind Laverty, Linfoot and Iddon.

Race results:

Race one: 
1. Josh Brookes AUS Milwaukee Yamaha YZF-R1 14 laps, 29m 33.139s
2. Shane Byrne GBR PBM Kawasaki ZX-10R +0.688s
3. Peter Hickman GBR RAF Reserves BMW S1000RR +1.923s
4. John Hopkins USA Lloyds British Moto Rapido Ducati Panigale R +2.745s
5. James Ellison GBR JG Speedfit Kawasaki ZX-10R +3.254s
6. Michael Laverty GBR Tyco BMW S1000RR +3.480s
7. Dan Linfoot GBR Honda Racing CBR1000RR +6.377s
8. Christian Iddon GBR Bennetts Suzuki GSX-R1000 +8.999s
9. Tommy Bridewell GBR Tyco BMW S1000RR +11.786s
10. Jakub Smrz CZE Milwaukee Yamaha YZF-R1 +12.280s

Race two:
1. Josh Brookes AUS Milwaukee Yamaha YZF-R1 14 laps, 29m 35.464s
2. Michael Laverty GBR Tyco BMW S1000RR +3.568s
3. Dan Linfoot GBR Honda Racing CBR1000RR +3.748s
4. Christian Iddon GBR Bennetts Suzuki GSX-R1000 +5.050s
5. Shane Byrne GBR PBM Kawasaki ZX-10R +5.463s
6. Richard Cooper GBR Buildbase BMW S1000RR +8.158s
7. Tommy Bridewell GBR Tyco BMW S1000RR +8.507s
8. Peter Hickman GBR RAF Reserves BMW S1000RR +9.690s
9. Lee Jackson GBR Buildbase BMW S1000RR +9.884s
10. Luke Mossey GBR Quattro Plant Kawasaki ZX-10R +13.965s

Rider reactions:

Brookes explains both races: “At the start of race one I was trying to find a pace that I felt could last the race distance, when Shakey came by me I sat calmly in third and kept an eye on them. I thought if I could stay smooth and fast and not make any mistakes then they shouldn’t have any extra to give than I have, I felt we were on fairly equal terms. I was able to get past and then the final laps were a real fight with myself, the bike, the tyre and each corner.

I certainly found it difficult at the start of the second race as I got pushed wide at turn one, I got squeezed out and lost momentum and a few positions. I got momentum going again and had a great battle with Christian [Iddon] but every time I got in front of him he would slam me back and I was wasting a lot of laps. It wasn’t until I was in front of him that I could move forward with confidence and the bike definitely worked better than race one.”

“I know exactly what it takes to win championships, Byrne saw his strive for five fully slip away this weekend, “Unfortunately what we had at Assen wasn’t good enough and it took us all weekend to get up to pace. I was quite confident with a couple of small tweaks to the bike for race two, but a few laps in a big problem developed with the bike and there was nothing we could do to change that. The fighter in me gave 110% until the end of the race but the realist in me wanted to give up after five laps as I knew I wasn’t going forward. That is the frustrating and bitter pill to swallow.” 

Christian Iddon had a stunning race two but was understandably disappointed to miss out on a podium: “That was a really enjoyable race. From about a third to halfway in I was pushing really hard and losing time, so I was rushing into corners to try and compensate further. But I took stock of the situation a bit and knew tyre wear was going to come into it. But I waited and as everyone else’s went off was able to make some passes. I could see the podium positions, but unfortunately the result wasn’t quite a podium but it’s a nice result, it’s our best this season, but more importantly we were in the mix all race.”

“I’m completely gutted. Explains a downbeat Ellison, “We’ve worked so hard to get back from the injury it’s a bitter blow to be ruled out today by problems outside of our control. We had some minor issues in the first race which meant I couldn’t quite maintain the pace of the others but I was feeling really good in the second race. We made some changes in between the race and the bike was mega, I definitely felt we had the pace to win. For some reason however the grip level just fell off a cliff towards the end and I was struggling to tip in and the bike was trying to throw me off.”

Michael Laverty a strong weekend at Silverstone, securing a podium: “I had to work really hard in the early laps to stay with the leading guys as I was the only one out there who chose the hard rear tyre so I was lacking a bit of the corner speed they had so I had to really fight. It didn’t quite work out in race one but I was pegging them back. 

We made some clever changes for race two and they made a real difference even with the hard tyre. I dropped back and then fought back to get back ahead of Christian Iddon, Shakey and Dan Linfoot. Second place was a good end to the weekend, we didn’t quite have the answer for Josh, but we will go back to the drawing board.”

Championship standings:
1. Josh Brookes Yamaha  653
2. Shane Byrne Kawasaki 606
3. James Ellison Kawasaki 573
4. Michael Laverty BMW 553
5. Dan Linfoot Honda 534
6. Tommy Bridewell BMW 531
7. Richard Cooper Kawasaki 156
8. Luke Mossey Kawasaki 140
9. Stuart Easton Kawasaki 139
10. Peter Hickman BMW 137

Next round: Brands Hatch GP, Kent, Round 12, 16th, 17th, 18th October 2015.
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