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Eazi Grip

A frustrating weekend at Oulton Park for McAMS Yamaha

Friday – A productive day for McAMS Yamaha at Oulton Park

The McAMS Yamaha team got straight to work at Oulton Park as round nine of the Bennetts British Superbike championship commenced. Jason O’Halloran ended the day’s two sessions in sixth whilst Luke Stapleford completed his debut with the team in 15th.

Making the most of the near-perfect conditions, O’Halloran got straight to work as he looked to improve the setting of his R1. Evaluating the feeling from the swingarm, which the team didn’t run in the visit to the Cheshire venue earlier this year, the Australian focussed on completing laps, ending the opening session seventh despite facing a few braking issues.

With a clear direction for the second session, the ‘O’Show’ immediately bettered his time. A change mid-way through the session gave him a bit more feeling, but despite still not at one with his R1, placed himself sixth fastest, just three-tenths adrift of the top time which bodes well for Saturday’s action. O’Halloran’s 1:34.578 sees him qualify directly for the Q2 shootout.

After completing a test day earlier in the month, Luke Stapleford hit the ground running on Friday as he looked to further improve his feeling with what is a new bike for the 32-year-old. A positive showing in the opening practice set the former Supersport race winner up for a productive afternoon and improved his time to a 1:35.767, placing him 15th in the combined times.

Jason O’Halloran
Practice: 6th (1:34.578)

“Overall, not the best but not the worst day! We had a bit of an issue this morning and then worked through a few settings this afternoon and we’re struggling in a few areas. We’ve got a different swingarm compared to the start of the year which changes a few things, but we’ll look at improving that overnight. Saying that, the overall lap time was not too bad. We’ll have a look tonight and see where we can improve tomorrow.”

Luke Stapleford
Practice 15th (1:35.767)

“I’m really excited to be riding the McAMS Yamaha at Oulton Park and feel privileged to have been asked to stand in. We managed to get some laps in at Oulton on a practice day which will save us some time in FP1 and allow us to crack straight on with the job. I’ll be honest, after riding the bike I can’t stop smiling!

“I know just how difficult it will be with the depth of the field in BSB but having ridden the bike already I am confident we can do a respectable job. I’d like to say a massive thanks to Steve and Chris for thinking of me and I can’t wait to get to the race meeting!”

Steve Rodgers
Team Principal

‘It’s not been a bad day, Jason is lapping competitively but could have a better feeling with the bike so that’s something we need to improve – we’ll look at the data overnight and see how we can find a bit more. Luke has had a really good start, he’s only ridden a superbike a handful of times and has been mainly racing Supersport this year which is such a different style, yet he’s in the mix and not far off at all considering. We are impressed!’

Saturday – A challenging Sprint Race

Jason O’Halloran managed to salvage eighth in what was a challenging Bike Social Sprint Race on Saturday at Oulton Park while team-mate Luke Stapleford crashed out at the mid-race point despite having made strong progress early on.

O’Halloran’s side of the garage have been working hard through the opening days of the meeting to find a comfortable setting for the Aussie, with the lap time not coming as easily for the 26-time race winner as it has at Oulton Park in the past.

After qualifying seventh for the opening race of the weekend, the team made some quite significant changes to O’Halloran’s R1 in the race and while it gave him a lot more from the front end, an inexplicable issue with the rear of the bike made it difficult for O’Halloran to make progress. He would eventually cross the line in eighth place.

Having impressed so far in his one-off ride with the team, Luke Stapleford was looking forward to the race, which he’d start 15th after breaking into the 1’34s at Oulton Park for the first time in his career in Qualifying. He’d lose some places at the start to cross the line 19th on lap one, but made a remarkable recovery and was up into 13th by lap four. Looking comfortable, progression towards the top ten was on the cards but a small mistake at Shell Oils hairpin saw him crash out of the race unhurt.

PBM Ducati’s Glenn Irwin took the race win in a fitting tribute to team owner and friend of McAMS Yamaha Paul Bird, who tragically passed away earlier this month after a short illness.

O’Halloran now sits 66.5 points back in the championship hunt while his lap time from the opening race will see him start eighth with Stapleford lining up 13th.

Jason O’Halloran
Qualifying: 7th 
Sprint Race: 8th

“That wasn’t a great race to be honest. We are struggling with the feeling a bit this weekend, it’s probably the hardest I’ve had to work around here. I’ve got quite a weird feeling at the rear of the bike and whatever we do we can’t seem to get rid of it, so we really need to sit down and try to understand why. Hopefully we can make some improvement for tomorrow.”

Luke Stapleford
Qualifying: 15th 
Sprint Race: DNF

“I know it’s a strange thing to say when you’ve had a tip off but I felt really comfortable in that race. I don’t think I did too much wrong, maybe it was a case of trying to make progress too soon – I just picked the throttle up slightly too early and lost the rear. It’s just one of those things, I don’t think our speed is too bad, we’re a bit further up the grid tomorrow so hopefully we can get dragged along with some of the faster guys and have some good results.”

Steve Rodgers
Team Principal

“Those weren’t the results we were hoping for! It’s just not working for Jason this weekend for some reason and we need to understand why – there’s definitely something not quite right as the gap to the front is way bigger than it would normally be. Luke has really impressed me this weekend, he’s been making really good progress and was looking strong in the race until the small mistake, but these things happen and we are pretty confident he can make up for that tomorrow. I’d just like to add that I was really pleased to see Glenn take the win for PBM in the first race since Paul’s passing. I considered Paul a friend and his passing is hugely sad; but winning was what made him tick so for Glenn to win for him today was the perfect tribute.”

Sunday – A frustrating day

Jason O’Halloran concluded the ninth round of the 2023 Bennetts British Superbike Championship with an eighth and ninth place in Sunday’s races at Oulton Park.

Having lost time with a small issue in the opening free practice, the team were unable to get back on the front foot, with the Aussie struggling with a lack of feeling all weekend with his R1.

In three very similar outings, O’Halloran was unable to make up ground, making for a lonely race with a sizeable gap both in front and behind. The second race of the weekend saw him start eighth on the grid, and losing a couple of places on the start, he was able to make them back up with relative ease but was unable to progress any further through the pack.

A sixth-place grid position for the final race of the weekend gave the team some hope, but it was a similar story with O’Halloran losing some places on the start and again unable to recover the ground lost.

Riding for the team in a one-off appearance this weekend, 2015 British Supersport Champion Luke Stapleford lapped quicker around Oulton Park than he has ever been before, finishing 14th and 16th in Sunday’s two outings.

The weekend’s results meant a significant knock to O’Halloran’s title campaign, now sitting 84 points off the lead, dropping back to sixth in the standings.

Jason O’Halloran
Race 1: 8th 
Race 2: 8th
Race 3: 9th

Championship: 6th (276.5 points)

“It’s been a difficult weekend really. It’s not ideal but I did the best job I could – we’ve just been lacking something and no matter what we did we couldn’t improve the feeling. I finished all the races which is positive, so we’ll go through everything and try to understand. Donington is a different track compared to Oulton, so hopefully we can turn up there in a different place, reset after this weekend and go again.”

Luke Stapleford
Race 1: DNF 
Race 2: 14th
Race 3: 16th

“I’ve loved every minute of the weekend with McAMS Yamaha. I’m very grateful to get the opportunity and I don’t feel like I’ve done too bad of a job. The times I have been doing are faster than I’ve ever done here before, and I’ve not been riding a superbike this season so to jump on something completely different and not embarrass myself I’m happy. We all know how deep the field is in Superbike. It’s been a really enjoyable weekend and I’d like to thank Steve, Chris and everyone for the opportunity.”

Steve Rodgers
Team Principal

“We can’t lie; two eighths and a ninth aren’t the results we go racing for. For some reason, it just hasn’t happened for Jason this weekend. It feels like we were on the back foot from free practice one and just weren’t able to recover that ground and get back on the front foot. We’ll look through the data and try to understand why that is, but Donington is another track so we’ll re-group and have another go there. Thanks to Luke for stepping in this weekend, BSB is a really tough class and he’s certainly not embarrassed himself all things considered.”

Posted on Monday, September 18th, 2023 in News

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