McAMS Yamaha take the positives from the opening day at Oulton Park
The McAMS Yamaha team were able to take the positives from a frustrating opening day at Oulton Park as the Great British weather once again interrupted track-time.
It had looked as though we’d be treated to the best day of the year as the sun beamed down on Oulton Park ahead of FP1 with track temperatures almost 30 degrees, a welcome improvement on the nine degrees seen during the test at the Cheshire circuit two weeks ago.
O’Halloran was quick from the off, consistently with in the top three during the first half of the session. However, the Australian would have to abort his second longer run due to a strange feeling with the brakes. While able to get back out in the final five minutes to check the problem was cured, the Aussie was unable to set a faster time leaving him ninth on the timesheets.
Having crashed at the test two weeks ago, rookie Tim Neave made a steady start as he looked to further familiarise himself with the R1 Superbike at one of the most technical and tricky circuits on the calendar. He placed 23rd in the opening session.
Both riders were confident of improvement in FP2, but with intermittent rainfall during the afternoon their hopes were dashed. With the track neither fully wet nor dry, the riders sat in the garage for most of the session, with only O’Halloran venturing out towards the end of the session to confirm the team had put the earlier gremlins to bed. Neave remained in the garage throughout.
O’Halloran’s time from FP1 was enough to see him progress directly to tomorrow’s Q2 session, but Neave will have to fight through Q1 ahead of the Bike Social Sprint tomorrow afternoon.
Bennetts British Superbike Championship, Oulton Park, Free Practice
23. Tim Neave (McAMS Yamaha) +3.172s
Pos: 9th Time: 1’35.653
“The first day wasn’t so bad, we’ve been working through a few bits trying to get a feeling that I want with the brakes at the minute. Considering how I felt and the issue we had, my pace was pretty good this morning from the off so once we sort that I think we’ll be sweet.”
Pos: 23rd Time: 1’38.260
“We were steady away today. I had a crash here at the test and didn’t want to start like that, so we wanted to take a step back to try and take two forward! Unfortunately we missed out on the last session, which we could have done with but it’s the same for everyone and we’ll try again tomorrow.”
“It was a frustrating day but there are positives to be taken. Jason was quick from the off, and I’m fairly sure he would have been in the top few in the first session had he not suffered with a strange brake issue. It was only something small, but that’s obviously not something to be taking chances with! Tim was steady away but that’s the instruction, you can’t just flick a switch and turn into superbike mode so he needs to build up slowly which is what he’s been doing. It was a shame to lose the second session due to weather, but we are feeling confident ahead of tomorrow.”
O’Halloran crashes out of Bike Social Sprint at Oulton Park
The McAMS Yamaha Team endured a difficult opening day of race action at Oulton Park as Jason O’Halloran unfortunately crashed out with Tim Neave finishing the red-flagged BikeSocial Sprint Race in 18th.
The team didn’t quite get the Super Sunday they were hoping for in Cheshire, with Jason O’Halloran suffering a nasty turn-three highside early into the race. After a strong qualifying performance, Tim Neave got more laps of useful data under his belt, finishing 18th.
Following a damp end to Saturday, conditions hadn’t improved on Sunday as the duo kicked off the day’s action. A strong and comfortable session for Neave, which saw him inside the top ten, set him up for a Q2 charge come qualifying.
With conditions drying, the wet tyres were the choice for Q1. The number 54 rider eased himself into the session as he looked to make the most of the challenging conditions and sat comfortably inside the top six at the midway stage. A 1:48.167 on his fifth of seven laps cemented himself in Q2 to join team-mate O’Halloran in the pole shootout.
With Q2 underway and a mixed tyre choice throughout the field, O’Halloran, with a wet front and intermediate rear, placed himself inside the top six before a waved yellow flag on his final circulation of the Cheshire circuit cancelled out his purple lap, leaving him fifth. Tim Neave would qualify tenth.
Having secured a second-row start, O’Halloran held position during the opening lap before picking off Storm Stacey for fourth at Lodge corner. But disaster struck on lap two as the Australian highsided himself out of contention. Despite the crash, the 35-year-old was quickly on his feet but was taken to the medical centre where he was diagnosed with superficial damage to a finger on his left hand but is fit to ride on Monday.
Tim Neave had a tricky start to proceedings, dropping six places on the opening lap to 16th where he remained for most of the race. However, as the rain clouds loomed, Neave dropped to 18th before a red flag ended the race on lap 11.
Despite an early exit, O’Halloran will line up 11th on the grid for bank holiday Monday’s opening race, with Neave 20th.
Bennetts British Superbike Championship, Oulton Park, BikeSocial Sprint Race result:
Bennetts British Superbike Championship standings:
18. Tim Neave (McAMS Yamaha) 6
Pos: DNF Championship: 6th (37 points)
“That’s a bummer! Today has obviously been tricky with the conditions but I felt quite good in Qualifying, we chose the right tyres and I was building up nicely, unfortunately when we were on track for pole on the last lap there were yellow flags at the last corner so I had to roll off. I was feeling confident ahead of the race and felt good in the early stages but crashed at turn three, we’ll have a look at the data to understand what happened. I’m all OK, I have just grazed my finger slightly which is lucky as it was quite a big crash! We’ll try again tomorrow.”
Pos: 18th Championship: 18th (6 points)
“I’m pretty happy with today, especially with how I rode in the wet. In the wet you obviously have to relax a bit and be mindful of the conditions, and this actually improved how I was riding the bike and taught me something for the dry. I had a bit of a moment into turn one which lost me quite a few positions at the start, but I felt good on the bike and went over a second quicker than I did yesterday so the improvements are coming. I’m looking forward to some more dry track time tomorrow.”
“We’ll try and take the positives from what has been a tough day! Qualifying was super tricky as there was only a really narrow dry line, the tyre call was important and we made the right choice with the inter rear and I think Jason had a good shot a pole until the yellow flags came out. Still, a second row start was good and he was looking good on the first two laps until the crash at Cascades. Fortunately he’s OK and we’re only 11th on the grid tomorrow so we’ll give it another go then. Tim rode really well in the wet, obviously in the dry he’s still got some learning to do but he’s getting quicker each time he gets on the bike so hopefully he can make another step or two tomorrow.”
Weekend to forget for McAMS Yamaha at Oulton Park
It was a weekend to forget for the McAMS Yamaha team at Oulton Park as a second crash of the weekend made for a tricky Sunday for Jason O’Halloran.
Having hit a wet patch and crashing out of Saturday’s opening race, the Aussie was already on the backfoot for Sunday’s two outings. A wet morning warm-up didn’t help proceedings, serving only as an opportunity to check the R1 was OK after the overnight re-build.
Starting 11th on the grid, O’Halloran had a job on if he was to salvage something from the weekend but it wasn’t meant to be. Caught up in the group in the first corner, O’Halloran was boxed in on the run down to Cascades and lost the front end on the brakes this time on corner entry.
While the 22-time race winner was OK, his R1 needed some further TLC from the team, who worked tirelessly to have it ready for the afternoon’s third and final race. This time starting 17th having been unable to set a lap time in the second race, O’Halloran’s first priority was to get through the opening couple of laps, which he did, before he began to pick off the pack, making it up to tenth by the chequered flag.
It was never going to be easy for rookie Tim Neave tackling one of the most technical and physical tracks on the BSB calendar for the first time on a 240bhp superbike, but the Lincolnshire rider showed a lot of promise. His impressive pace in sketchy conditions saw him qualify tenth for Sunday’s opening race, in which he’d finishing 18th. The aim for Sunday was to improve his lap time and consistency in the dry, and after a 19th place finish in Race 2 he took a big step forward for the final race of the weekend, consistently lapping almost a second quicker than he had all weekend. While the result was another 18th, there are encouraging signs as the series heads to some more rookie-friendly circuits.
O’Halloran now sits seventh in the standings, 50 points back on points leader Glenn Irwin. Tim Neave is 20th.
The team now have three weeks off to re-group ahead of the third round of the championship at Donington Park.
Race 1: DNF
Race 2: DNF
Race 3: 10th
Championship: 7th (41 points)
“I’m glad that weekend is over! We were on the backfoot all weekend as we had some brake issues in FP1 and then lost the second practice due to conditions. I was really happy with our pace in the sketchy conditions on Saturday, but unfortunately hit a damp patch at Cascades early in the race and the weekend kind of snowballed from there! That put me further back on the grid and it’s always so tricky here to make progress in the early laps and unfortunately I went down at turn three again. For the final race, I was even further back on the grid and I didn’t want the same to happen again, so I got through the first few laps and we then made progress. It’s not been ideal, but it’s a long season – we’ll regroup and go again at Donington Park.”
Race 1: 18th
Race 2: 19th
Race 3: 18th
Championship: 20th (6 points)
“There are quite a few positives to take from this weekend, I’m really happy with how I rode in the wet conditions, it shows I can mix it with these boys and it taught me a lot about how to ride in the dry too. It took us a while to get going in the drier conditions, but I felt like we made a big step in the final race and I was able to be more consistent as well as hugely improving my lap time. I’m looking forward to a few weeks off before the next round, where hopefully we can take another few steps forward.”