DAO Racing and rider Dean Harrison are feeling fired-up for the remainder of the season after big improvements at Thruxton – despite the results not necessarily going their way.
As the Bennetts British Superbike Championship moved to the Hampshire circuit for its sixth round of the year, it was just the second time Harrison and the team had raced in the series there.
With the team’s road racing commitments over for the year, the squad is now concentrating fully on BSB and spent the weekend working on a number of new things which did bring massive improvements – however, things didn’t quite work out as planned.
Qualifying 23rd, Harrison finished the opening race in 22nd position but had also struggled to get a fast lap time during the race, forcing him to start the second from 28th.
Armed with a new strategy devised by the squad, Harrison hit the ground running as race two began, getting a clean start and then carving his way through the pack to finish 17th.
A better lap time meant he started the final race of the weekend in 19th and this time he was one of seven riders on the grid who went for the SC2 Pirelli front, hoping this could pay off. However, his hopes came to a very sharp and early finish when he was knocked off by former champion Josh Brookes on the opening lap.
“It was just one of those I think, you can’t start blaming people it was just one of those racing incidents,” said Harrison. “It is a shame because I think I could’ve had a good last race there which would’ve been a nice way to end the weekend.
“I was a bit frustrated after the first race, we got caught up in two different incidents on track and that put us on the back foot and left me stuck without a good lap time but I was really happy with how the second one went.
“Who knows where we’d have got in the last one if I’d got further than a lap but all in all I’m happy with where we were at the end of the second one and I think there’s a lot we can do to move forward from there.”
Team Manager Jonny Bagnall said he feels happy with the improvements – but admits he was a bit disappointed not to get a good run in the final race.
“It’s been an up and down weekend, I think we were all a bit disappointed with how race one turned out, there were a few incidents and things so we changed a few things for race two – we went in with a different mindset and it paid off.
“It was all part of a bit of a new strategy we put together, we wanted to get a better second race, get him a better lap time for a better grid position for the last race and it paid off – or so we thought, but this is racing and these things happen, it was just unlucky.
“I think we had a bit of an advantage this weekend because Dean is a naturally smooth rider and not aggressive which normally doesn’t help anywhere else on the calendar; our times towards the end of the race were just as quick as people in the top 10 so it worked here.
“On paper, it may not look too strong a weekend but for us it’s been very positive, we’ve learnt a lot and we now have a good, strong idea which way to go for the rest of the year.”