It’s been an amazing weekend at Knockhill with our Eazi-Grip supported teams and riders dominating the podium. Read the full report here…
Eazi-Grip supported Jason O’Halloran claimed his first pole position of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship season at Knockhill as the standings leader bids to turn his luck around at the Scottish circuit, holding off fierce Oulton Park rival Christian Iddon by 0.055s.
The top 18 riders in SUPERPICKS Q2 were covered by just 0.779s, but it was the McAMS Yamaha team who emerged at the top of the times in a top four that represented four different manufacturers.
O’Halloran and Iddon will be joined on the front row by SYNETIQ BMW’s Danny Buchan, who will start in the top three on the grid for the first time this season after topping the opening two practice sessions.
Peter Hickman will head row two ahead of Bradley Ray and Lee Jackson who completed the top six in SUPERPICKS in Q2.
Ryan Vickers will start seventh on the grid for the BikeSocial race this afternoon with Kyle Ryde and Gino Rea completing the top ten. Whilst defending champion Josh Brookes will start 13th on the grid.
Bennetts British Superbike Championship, Knockhill, SUPERPICKS Qualifying result:
1. Eazi-Grip supported Jason O’Halloran (McAMS Yamaha) 47.255s
2. Eazi-Grip supported Christian Iddon (VisionTrack Ducati) +0.055s
3. Eazi-Grip supported Danny Buchan (SYNETIQ BMW) +0.178s
4. Peter Hickman (FS-3 Kawasaki) +0.229s
5. Bradley Ray (Rich Energy OMG Racing BMW) +0.267s
6. Eazi-Grip supported Lee Jackson (FS-3 Kawasaki) +0.270s
7. Eazi-Grip supported Ryan Vickers (RAF Regular & Reserve Kawasaki) +0.280s
8. Eazi-Grip supported Rory Skinner (FS-3 Kawasaki) +0.296s
9. Kyle Ryde (Rich Energy OMG Racing BMW) +0.333s
10. Gino Rea (Buildbase Suzuki) +0.361s
Eazi-Grip supported Christian Iddon returned to the top step of the podium in the Bennetts British Superbike Championship to get revenge for missing out at the season opener. The VisionTrack Ducati rider held off Jason O’Halloran and Danny Buchan to win the opening BikeSocial race at Knockhill.
At the start of the race O’Halloran had launched off the pole position to grab the lead ahead of Iddon and Buchan, but the order shifted as the SYNETIQ BMW rider moved into second on the third lap with a decisive overtake.
Meanwhile Iddon had grasped the lead, but the VisionTrack Ducati rider soon was relegated to second as Buchan hit the front of the pack on lap six.
As Buchan tried to make a break on his chasing rivals he saved a huge moment, when he tucked the front at the hairpin, and his incredible reactions meant he may have lost the lead but he was able to regroup from fourth place.
Iddon had taken command at the front of the pack, but O’Halloran was stalking him all the way to the chequered flag as the pair continue their duel from Oulton Park.
Peter Hickman had taken advantage of Buchan’s mistake to move up a place into a potential podium position, but a problem on the final lap meant he was forced to retire the FHO Racing BMW, handing the final top three place back to his BMW rival.
Bradley Ray had a strong performance in fourth to score his best result of the season so far for the Rich Energy OMG Racing BMW ahead of rookie Rory Skinner, who delivered a stellar performance to claim fifth place in only his fourth Bennetts BSB race with FS-3 Kawasaki.
Tarran Mackenzie bounced back from a crash in qualifying to score sixth after a battle with Ryan Vickers on the RAF Regular & Reserve Kawasaki in the closing stages, as Tommy Bridewell, Lee Jackson and defending champion Josh Brookes completed the top ten.
Bennetts British Superbike Championship, Knockhill, BikeSocial Race 1:
Eazi-Grip supported Danny Buchan celebrated victory for SYNETIQ BMW in the second Bennetts British Superbike Championship race at Knockhill, becoming the third different race winner of the season as Rory Skinner delivered an incredible second place finish in only his fifth race.
At the start of the race, Christian Iddon had launched his VisionTrack Ducati into the lead on the opening lap ahead of Buchan, Peter Hickman and Skinner.
Hickman was fighting hard and within six laps, he had forced his way into second place with a move at the Hairpin, before Skinner also made the same pass a lap later on the SYNETIQ BMW.
It was a disastrous race for the championship leader, who relinquished his position at the top of the standings when he crashed out unhurt on the eleventh lap.
Meanwhile in the leading pack, Iddon was holding off the pack as Buchan had moved back into second position with Tarran Mackenzie and Skinner in the leading group.
Buchan bided his time before executing a move at the Hairpin on the 17th lap to claim the lead and then despite initial early pressure he was able to bridge a gap of just over a second to claim the first race win for the all-new BMW M 1000 RR.
The battle for second though took a turn on lap 20 as Skinner claimed the position by passing Iddon and he was able to hold off the pair behind him battling for third to secure a debut podium finish in second place for the FS-3 Kawasaki team.
On the final lap the scrap continued for the final podium position as Mackenzie lunged ahead on the McAMS Yamaha to push Iddon back into fourth place at the chequered flag. The VisionTrack Ducati rider though moves ahead in the title standings by three points now ahead of race three in Scotland.
Tommy Bridewell completed the top five as he was able to gain positions after Hickman saved a huge off track moment after a promising start which saw him in the podium fight for FHO Racing BMW. Bridewell held off Ryan Vickers and Hickman in the closing stages.
Lee Jackson finished eighth on the second of the FS-3 Kawasakis with Bradley Ray and Gino Rea completing the top ten.
Bennetts British Superbike Championship, Knockhill, Race 2 result:
1. Eazi-Grip supported Danny Buchan (SYNETIQ BMW)
2. Eazi-Grip supported Rory Skinner (FS-3 Kawasaki) +1.069s
3. Eazi-Grip supported Tarran Mackenzie (McAMS Yamaha) +1.422s
4. Eazi-Grip supported Christian Iddon (VisionTrack Ducati) +1.600s
5. Eazi-Grip supported Tommy Bridewell (Oxford Products Racing Ducati) +5.134s
6. Eazi-Grip supported Ryan Vickers (RAF Regular & Reserve Kawasaki) +5.555s
7. Peter Hickman (FHO Racing BMW) +6.664s
8. Eazi-Grip supported Lee Jackson (FS-3 Kawasaki) +11.030s
9. Bradley Ray (Rich Energy OMG Racing BMW) +11.381s
10. Gino Rea (Buildbase Suzuki) +11.770s
Eazi-Grip supported Danny Buchan celebrated a double victory for the SYNETIQ BMW team at Knockhill, making a crucial move on Rory Skinner just a lap before the final Bennetts British Superbike Championship race of the weekend was red flagged.
Tarran Mackenzie led the pack off the line at the start, but it wasn’t long before Skinner was on the attack and he instantly grabbed the lead at the Hairpin.
Skinner was heading the field as Christian Iddon moved into second, pushing Makenzie into third by the end of the second lap.
Peter Hickman was also getting stuck in the battle for third, firing the FHO Racing BMW ahead of Mackenzie on lap four.
Buchan was holding fourth position by lap ten, but ahead of him Hickman had dived up the inside of Iddon at the Hairpin to claim second.
The VisionTrack Ducati rider was targeting his counterattack and as they reached the Hairpin the next time around, he dived up the inside on Hickman. Buchan also saw his opportunity when Hickman was forced to sit up, and he stuck the SYNETIQ BMW ahead, but the pair touched and they subsequently lost ground.
Buchan was determined to fight back for the podium and after hunting Mackenzie, he was able to edge ahead on lap 15, but the McAMS Yamaha rider instantly reclaimed the position.
Buchan eventually made a move that stuck and he then had Skinner and Iddon ahead of him. A lunge into the Hairpin put the SYNETIQ BMW rider back into second as Iddon was nudged back into third and then he was duelling with Skinner for the victory.
Skinner was fighting hard to hold the lead and as Buchan moved ahead the Scot was desperately trying to retaliate, but the race was red flagged when Glenn Irwin crashed a lap later, leaving his stricken Honda in the track.
Mackenzie held on to claim his second podium finish of the day for McAMS Yamaha with Iddon in fourth place and to remain on top of the standings by six points ahead of the next round at Brands Hatch.
Bradley Ray was back in the top five for Rich Energy OMG Racing BMW ahead of Jason O’Halloran, who bounced back from a race two crash to finish in sixth place.
Tommy Bridewell was seventh, holding off Hickman with Ryan Vickers and Lee Jackson completing the top ten.
Bennetts British Superbike Championship, Knockhill, Race 3 result:
1. Eazi-Grip supported Danny Buchan (SYNETIQ BMW)
2. Eazi-Grip supported Rory Skinner (FS-3 Kawasaki) +0.240s
3. Eazi-Grip supported Tarran Mackenzie (McAMS Yamaha) +0.356s
4. Eazi-Grip supported Christian Iddon (VisionTrack Ducati) +0.673s
5. Bradley Ray (Rich Energy OMG Racing BMW) +1.141s
6. Eazi-Grip supported Jason O’Halloran (McAMS Yamaha) +2.724s
7. Eazi-Grip supported Tommy Bridewell (Oxford Products Racing Ducati) +3.226s
8. Peter Hickman (FHO Racing BMW) +3.873s
9. Eazi-Grip supported Ryan Vickers (RAF Regular & Reserve Kawasaki) +4.102s
10. Eazi-Grip supported Lee Jackson (FS-3 Kawasaki) +4.411s
Bennetts British Superbike Championship standings after Knockhill:
1. Eazi-Grip supported Christian Iddon (VisionTrack Ducati) 111
2. Eazi-Grip supported Jason O’Halloran (McAMS Yamaha) 105
3. Eazi-Grip supported Danny Buchan (SYNETIQ BMW) 91
4. Eazi-Grip supported Tarran Mackenzie (McAMS Yamaha) 76
5. Eazi-Grip supported Rory Skinner (FS-3 Kawasaki) 61
6. Eazi-Grip supported Tommy Bridewell (Oxford Products Racing Ducati) 60
7. Peter Hickman (FHO Racing BMW) 57
8. Eazi-Grip supported Lee Jackson (FS-3 Kawasaki) 46
Some of our Eazi-Grip supported Team and Rider thoughts
Danny Buchan – Synetiq BMW
“Well where do we start? What a weekend, three races and three podiums and of course those two wins today. I’m over the moon, so massive credit to the SYNETIQ BMW team as they really did put together a fantastic package with the MRR. It made my day a whole lot easier. To win two British Superbike races so early in the life of the M 1000 RR, which is a new package and in amongst such stiff competition, shows just how good this new BMW really is. Let’s dig deep and keep building on this, but for now I’m going to enjoy the moment.”
Andrew Irwin – Synetiq BMW
“It definitely doesn’t look like it was my best weekend, but it was a step forward from Oulton Park for sure. It’s a matter of just trying to keep on building on that and look forward to Brands now. Well done to Danny. He did an awesome job this weekend on the SYNETIQ BMW M 1000 RR, showing it’s true potential and what it really can do, so hopefully it will not be too long before I can be close to where he is.”
Philip Neill – Synetiq BMW Team Principal
“It’s been a long wait and not without effort but winning again does feel really sweet. Especially at Knockhill where we have not enjoyed the best of luck in recent years. To be fair, BMW Motorrad has shown a lot of faith in TAS Racing and with our title sponsor SYNETIQ being relatively new to the racing scene, we knew we had to win races this year. Absolutely no excuses.
The new BMW M 1000 RR has already shown great potential in BSB and in WSB and we fully believed the package was capable of running at the front. However, being perfectly honest, Danny made the difference today, he was simply superb. Andrew has not enjoyed the early season so much, but we believe we have found a direction for him even though it didn’t show in our results today. He is a quality rider and I have no doubt he will challenge for podiums when we find the sweet spot for him and his M 1000 RR.
Thanks to all our partners for what we can only describe as a dream weekend for TAS Racing and SYNETIQ BMW.”
Steve Rogers – McAMS Yamaha Team Principal
“You can’t get away from the fact that Knockhill is not the Yamaha’s strongest track – we prefer fast, flowing corners so when one of the most important parts of the track involves a first gear hairpin onto a straight you know you’re going to be up against it, so to come away with three podiums from three races is a job well done as far as I’m concerned. Jason rode well yesterday, today was always going to be tough from ninth on the grid. The crash in race one was his first race crash in two years, but he bounced back to take solid points and strengthen his championship position in race three.
We knew Taz could be strong here and he showed that today, he rode very, very well and two third places show that. We know there’s more to come, so we’re looking forward to getting to Brands Hatch in two weeks’ time.”
Tarran Mackenzie – McAMS Yamaha
“I’m really happy with today’s races, starting on the front row in the final race made the first few laps a bit easier. I felt strong in both races today, in the final race I was a bit gutted with the red flag as I thought I could have pushed on and got better than third, it might have been hard to beat Danny but I think second was a possibility. After a crash in qualifying yesterday, I’m happy to have two podiums today to continue a strong start to 2021. Bring on Brands Hatch.”
Jason O’Halloran – McAMS Yamaha
“I’m disappointed with the second race, I made a small mistake in the heat of the battle wanting to make a break from the group and tucked the front. That meant starting on row three for the final race too which was always going to be difficult. My pace was the same as the leaders’ in the final race but it’s so tough to bridge gaps here as it’s a tricky place. We had the pace this weekend; I had a pole, a second place and then a sixth place in race three so I’m happy and looking forward to getting back to Brands Hatch and hopefully getting back on the box.”
Ian Hutchinson – Edwards 1902
“It’s been a challenging weekend as we’ve continued to try to understand the bike, but each session we rode we made more progress. I wasn’t particularly happy after finishing 12th in the first race but in Race 2 after the start we got our head down and fought through, the pace was good and we’d made a good step with the bike so ninth was a decent result. We aren’t far away and there are only a few small things I want to fix, if we can achieve that there’s no reason we can’t be closer towards the front.”
Glenn Irwin – Honda Racing
“Racing in 11th isn’t usually what gets us excited, but the progress we’ve made this weekend has been massive. Fair play to the boys in that last race I felt strong and I probably could have caught the guys ahead of me. Everyone will talk about the crash, but that was 1% of the race as 99% was so positive. This weekend we have struggled a bit from a physical point of view, but the changes the boys made to the bike made it easier to ride, and I could also go faster. I’m gutted for them to be honest, I can take it on the chin but they’ve worked hard all weekend and it’s been testing at times! How we turned up for the last race shows the progress and we were able to respond properly. The Fireblade is new to this circuit, so we had a bit to learn this weekend but I am looking forward to coming back, it’s just a shame it ended with a crash.”
Ryo Mizuno – Honda Racing
“It’s been a very tough weekend. I feel like I’ve been running all the way from Saturday’s free practice to today’s Race 3 and now I’m feeling very tired. It’s been a weekend where I’ve been able to step up my performance little by little. I’m not satisfied with the race results but I’m happy that I could finish the three races. I’m still working on my physical condition and I’m looking forward to the next race at Brands Hatch.”
Takumi Takahashi – Honda Racing
“Today was as difficult as yesterday’s race for me. During today’s first race I had some problems and retired from the running. During the first half of the final race I was getting better little by little, but going into the second half my shoulder became weak and I couldn’t hold the pace I had been running until the end. I will continue to train until the next race and prepare for the ride.”
Tom Neave – Honda Racing
“You always want to finish at the top in a race, or at least be on the podium, but I did what I came to do this weekend and that was to finish both races and get some solid points for the championship. For the most part this weekend we went faster in each session and just continued to understand the Fireblade a bit more. I can go home happy and relax, we came into the weekend with zero points and now we’re seventh in the standings. I’m still getting over an illness and also recovering with my knee, so things still aren’t 100% perfect. It’s a long season and there’s so much more we can do, so we’ll keep at it and keep playing the long game.”