Jason O’Halloran claimed his third SUPERPICKS Qualifying pole position of the season at Donington Park, edging out Peter Hickman by just a marginal 0.019s ahead of this afternoon’s Bennetts British Superbike BikeSocial Race one.
Glenn Irwin had set the early pace in a frantic fight for the pole position on the National circuit, which ended with the top 14 contenders lapping within the existing circuit record and just 0.731s covering the top 18 riders.
The Honda Racing rider set the early pace in the 12-minute session to lay down a marker to his rivals, but as the session reached five minutes remaining, Hickman upped his pace. The FHO Racing BMW rider then set the leading time and he held the position until the final two minutes of SUPERPICKS Q2.
O’Halloran bounced back from his crash yesterday to steal the pole position in the closing moments, with Hickman claiming his first qualifying front row start of 2021, and Glenn Irwin completing the front row.
The second row features riders who had progressed through SUPERPICKS Q1, with fourth place held by Tarran Mackenzie on the second of the McAMS Yamahas, just ahead of Andrew Irwin and Bradley Ray.
Tommy Bridewell will head the third row of the grid ahead of Christian Iddon and Kyle Ryde with Gino Rea completing the top ten.
Josh Brookes qualified in 15th position; as the reigning champion set a lap time 0.658s adrift of the pole position lap.
Bennetts British Superbike Championship, Donington Park, SUPERPICKS Qualifying:
1. Eazi-Grip supported Jason O’Halloran (McAMS Yamaha) 1m:05.637s
2. Peter Hickman (FHO Racing BMW) +0.019s
3. Eazi-Grip supported Glenn Irwin (Honda Racing) +0.105s
4. Eazi-Grip supported Tarran Mackenzie (McAMS Yamaha) +0.210s
5. Eazi-Grip supported Andrew Irwin (SYNETIQ BMW) +0.237s
6. Bradley Ray (Rich Energy OMG Racing BMW) +0.396s
7. Eazi-Grip supported Tommy Bridewell (Oxford Products Racing Ducati) +0.406s
8. Eazi-Grip supported Christian Iddon (VisionTrack Ducati) +0.409s
9. Kyle Ryde (Rich Energy OMG Racing BMW) +0.412s
10. Gino Rea (Buildbase Suzuki) +0.412s
Jason O’Halloran continued his winning streak in the Bennetts British Superbike Championship by claiming victory in the opening BikeSocial Race at Donington Park, following an intense battle in the opening race of the weekend.
O’Halloran launched into the lead from the pole position, but Glenn Irwin soon grabbed the advantage to put the Honda ahead. Meanwhile though Tarran Mackenzie had moved into second place as championship leader O’Halloran was initially pushed back down the order.
By the third lap, Christian Iddon had carved his way through from fourth to become the third different race leader in as many laps, before Glenn Irwin then regained the position a lap later.
The BMW Safety Car was deployed when Joey Thompson crashed out at Coppice on the fifth lap, with the pack forming up for the restart with Glenn Irwin leading Iddon, O’Halloran, Mackenzie, Andrew Irwin and Ryan Vickers.
Glenn Irwin defended his position hard, holding off the chasing pack as O’Halloran moved up the order and was holding second place by the halfway point of the race.
Two laps later and O’Halloran made a move for the lead into Redgate and started to try and break the pack. The McAMS Yamaha rider edged out a 1.866s advantage at the chequered flag over the final seven laps.
The battle for the final podium positions continued to rage right until the finish line as Mackenzie had fought back into second place, narrowly ahead of Glenn Irwin and Iddon.
However, the McAMS Yamaha rider was demoted to third on the final lap when his Honda Racing rival made a final attempt for second on the brakes at Roberts for the last time and had the edge to the line with Iddon in fourth.
Tommy Bridewell was fifth for the Oxford Products Racing Ducati team after Ryan Vickers was issued a two-second time penalty for a course cut on the RAF Regular & Reserve Kawasaki, pushing him to sixth just ahead of Andrew Irwin.
Lee Jackson finished eighth to maintain the final position in the top eight in the standings currently, with Peter Hickman and Bradley Ray completing the top ten. It was another difficult race for defending champion Josh Brookes; he ended the race in 18th position.
The victory in the opening race means that O’Halloran has put himself in contention for the £50,000 prize in the Milwaukee Summer Grand Slam, if he can complete six consecutive race wins across this weekend at Donington Park and the next event at Cadwell Park.
However, tomorrow his Bennetts BSB rivals could also put themselves in with a chance, as five victories across the six races nets a £25,000 prize and four wins claims £10,000.
O’Halloran said: “The start of the race was actually quite difficult as I think all the boys know now they’ve got to get in front of me to try and slow me down a little bit!
“Once I get to the front I seem to be able to do my own thing and I’ve got really good pace, so I know I just need to get to the front.
“I was giving it as good as I was getting it, especially at the start as it was pretty frantic! I wasn’t really too keen on using the kerbs in the first part of the race, which is why I kept getting passed into turn one because I wasn’t committing to the last chicane.
“Once I figured out what I could do I got to the front, got my head down and once I saw plus one on the board, I just controlled the gap.
“I had a really strong pace so I am looking forward to the longer races tomorrow as I think it will suit us even more. Just another five races to go to try to win the Milwaukee money! It was definitely nice to start off with a win and keep myself in the mix for it.”
Bennetts British Superbike Championship, Donington Park National, BikeSocial Race 1:
Bennetts British Superbike Championship standings after Donington Park BikeSocial Race 1:
Tarran Mackenzie ended his McAMS Yamaha teammate’s race winning momentum in the Bennetts British Superbike Championship, claiming the second victory of the weekend at Donington Park, in an intense final three-lap dash to the chequered flag.
At the start of the race, Mackenzie had grabbed the advantage ahead of his championship-leading teammate, with Peter Hickman and Andrew Irwin in close contention. The McAMS Yamaha pair traded blows at the front, switching positions on the second lap before local hero Mackenzie was able to maintain the initial lead.
Andrew Irwin had moved the SYNETIQ BMW into second place ahead of Christian Iddon as the pair battled for second place, however on the seventh lap contact was made at Redgate and the VisionTrack Ducati rider crashed out of the race. The race stewards subsequently issued Andrew Irwin a two-second time penalty for his part in the collision.
At the front, Glenn Irwin had broken through for Honda Racing, taking the lead on the tenth lap, but he was only able to hold off a determined Mackenzie for two laps, as the McAMS Yamaha rider moved back ahead. Glenn Irwin continued to battle for the leading positions however, his race ended prematurely with a crash on lap 17.
Mackenzie was desperately trying to gap the chasing pack, edging out a margin over his rivals. Peter Hickman had meanwhile pushed himself into second place ahead of O’Halloran and Bradley Ray as the podium fight continued to rage.
By lap 20, O’Halloran had moved into second with a move at Roberts as he bid to close the gap to his teammate. Hickman, Tommy Bridewell and Ray though were not giving an inch. Ryan Vickers was also in the mix despite his start from the back row of the grid after a technical problem before the start; however he was also issued a time penalty for overtaking under yellow flags.
The BMW Safety Car was deployed when Danny Buchan heavily crashed out of the race, making a new race distance of 28 laps, when the race resumed with three laps remaining.
Mackenzie had backed the pack up and was able to defend hard to keep O’Halloran at bay initially, whilst Hickman was pushed back to fourth as a hard-charging Ray moved into third place ahead of the final lap.
Ray saved his best until last, making a move on O’Halloran into Roberts for the final time to record the first podium finish for the Rich Energy OMG Racing BMW team, as O’Halloran completed the podium.
Bridewell was fifth for the Oxford Products Racing Ducati team ahead of Kyle Ryde who equalled his best finish of the season in sixth. Vickers was seventh ahead of Xavi Forés on the second of the FHO Racing BMWs.
Andrew Irwin and Josh Brookes completed the top ten ahead of race three this afternoon.
The victory for Mackenzie means that he is now in contention along with O’Halloran for the £25,000 prize in the Milwaukee Summer Grand Slam. The McAMS Yamaha riders would need to win the next four races to claim the prize, with £10,000 up for grabs if either rider can claim four wins from the next four races.
Bennetts British Superbike Championship, Donington Park, Race 2 result:
Bennetts British Superbike Championship standings after Race 2:
Tommy Bridewell celebrated victory in a tactical final Bennetts British Superbike Championship race at Donington Park, becoming the fifth different race winner of the season for the Oxford Products Racing Ducati team.
The race initially started in dry conditions and was then red flagged for rain after three laps. The race was later restarted and declared wet, but the shower had passed and tyre choice would prove crucial to the outcome of the race result.
At the start, Ryan Vickers got off to an incredible start with his choice of a wet front and intermediate rear tyre to lead the pack. However, it was short lived as he crashed out at Coppice on the opening lap to end his charge for the RAF Regular & Reserve Kawasaki team.
Tarran Mackenzie had opted for a wet front and intermediate rear, which had initially given him the edge to then lead the field from Peter Hickman and Glenn Irwin, with Bridewell holding fourth position over the opening laps.
As the track started to dry though, Mackenzie soon dropped back through the order as the riders who had opted for the intermediate front and rear option moved forward, and by lap five Glenn Irwin was leading for Honda Racing.
A lap later Bridewell had taken control at the front, and he soon began to edge an advantage ahead of Glenn and Andrew Irwin. Christian Iddon was making rapid progress through the pack as he was the only rider to opt for an intermediate front and slick rear tyre.
It was soon all over for Iddon though as he crashed the VisionTrack Ducati out of the race at Craner Curves on the ninth lap after working his way through into fourth place.
At the front, Bridewell bridged the gap to Glenn Irwin to claim his first victory of the season, as the Honda Racing rider finished second, incredibly after dislocating his shoulder in the earlier race of the day!
Andrew Irwin became the eleventh different podium finisher of the season, taking his first top three finish for SYNETIQ BMW. He flew the flag for the team after Danny Buchan was sidelined with suspected concussion and he will also sit out next weekend at Cadwell Park.
Reigning champion Josh Brookes had also opted for the same combination of intermediate tyres and he claimed his best result of the season in fourth place for VisionTrack Ducati.
Joe Francis scored his first top five finish of the season for the iForce Lloyd & Jones BMW team, just ahead of Storm Stacey who delivered an impressive performance to claim his best ever finish in Bennetts BSB with a sixth place.
Mackenzie dropped to seventh, but still accumulated the most points to be crowned Milwaukee King of Donington, just ahead of Dean Harrison who celebrated his best ever finish for Silicone Engineering Kawasaki.
Dan Linfoot and Gino Rea completed the top ten as championship leader Jason O’Halloran finished twelfth after opting for a wet front tyre and intermediate rear tyre.
Speaking after the race, Bridewell said: “It was a nice, clean race – I didn’t go off like a bat out of hell to start with because I wanted to see what the track was like and it was a bit patchy at Coppice, so you had to be careful. Glenn got to the front and went off pretty hard, so I had to push hard to catch him, but I caught him fairly quick and comfortably so I knew I had the better pace.
“When I passed him, I thought ‘right, do I put the hammer down and try to break him or do I chip away’ and I did a bit of both. I put the hammer down to see what reaction I got and then just kept pushing.
“I’m really proud of what we’ve achieved, and proud of the way I rode. I really enjoyed it, but we’ve got to keep the momentum going now and take some points back for the championship. The Showdown’s looking well and I’m looking forward to doing it again in a few days’ time.”
Bennetts British Superbike Championship, Donington Park, Race 3 result:
Bennetts British Superbike Championship standings after Donington Park:
Eazi-Grip supported riders Glenn Irwin won the Bennetts Rider of the Round and Tarran Mackenzie was crowned the Milwaukee King of Donington.
Thoughts of some of our Eazi-Grip supported riders
Glenn Irwin – Honda Racing
“40 points, that’s what we look at this weekend and take away with us. Race 2 we had the crash, and I dislocated my shoulder, but you know we’re not superhuman and this happens. I’m overwhelmed with everyone, like ‘you’re a hero’ but honestly on the bike I was fine, a little sore changing direction. I wouldn’t change that result in Race 3, my boys did a great job, the front tyre was a last-minute call, I don’t know if someone was looking over us but something made me want to change. I don’t normally feel comfortable in those conditions, but we done it and it’s been a great weekend. Eurosport did a fantastic feature on myself this weekend, I’m grateful for being able to talk about mental health and show that the official BSB team riders are all in this together, and to anyone who is struggling, if I bounce back today, you guys can overcome a lot more. ”
Andrew Irwin – Synetiq BMW
“Fair play to the team they have worked hard to get me more comfortable and we’ve made a massive step here this weekend. I’m obviously happy to have grabbed my first podium and while the results haven’t been what I expected so far this season, I go to Cadwell now in a good frame of mind and we will try to keep building on this. The main thing is to be competitive and there’s a better Andrew Irwin to come. Thanks to the whole team for sticking by me and I look forward to having Danny back on the other side of the SYNETIQ BMW garage at Snetterton fit and ready to race.”
Danny Buchan – Synetiq BMW
“It just wasn’t my weekend and I’m feeling a little second hand but we will be back at Snetterton to get this Showdown effort back on track. I’m still in fourth place in the standings despite a difficult weekend at Donington but congratulations to Andrew on his podium. Thanks to everyone for their messages and I’ll be counting down the days to get back into my SYNETIQ BMW leathers at Snetterton.”
Jason O’Halloran – McAMS Yamaha
“It’s been a really positive weekend for us with a win yesterday and third this morning. The final race was a bit of a lottery, I feel we went with the right choice, obviously not to win, but it was the correct call for us at the time. I struggled with one area of the track, I was folding the front a lot so we’ll have a look into it and see why that was and make a better plan for those conditions next time. All in all, it’s been a fantastic weekend for the team; we both won races, we both had podiums and we are now 1-2 in the championship so bring on Cadwell.”
Tarran Mackenzie – McAMS Yamaha
“It was awesome to get my second win of the season, I felt really dominant in the race, probably the best I’ve ever felt on the bike. I managed to pull a good lead which was around 3 seconds and then the safety car came out, which was an added stress but I couldn’t give the win away! It would have been nice to have a dry race but this is motorcycle racing at the end of the day. In hindsight we should have gone with drier tyres but we made our decision and I was confident with it at the time. I got a good start but the wet front became quite difficult towards the end of the race so I was happy to finish seventh. In all it’s been a great weekend, both McAMS Yamaha riders on the podium in two races, I’ve moved into second in the championship and it was nice to win King of Donington!”