Points all round for Honda Racing UK
The Honda Racing UK team have got the tenth round of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship off to a strong start at Donington Park’s GP circuit, with all four riders scoring points in today’s opening race, with title fighter Glenn Irwin finishing fifth aboard the CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP.
The weekend got off to a flying start with Glenn setting the pace throughout FP1 and FP3, while FP2 yesterday was cancelled due to treacherous weather conditions at the 2.48-mile track.
Qualifying seventh for today’s eBay Sprint Race, Glenn made his way through the field to cross the line in fifth place, ahead of title rivals Tommy Bridewell and Lee Jackson who are just ahead of him in the overall standings. The result from today sees Glenn remain fourth overall, with just a two-point buffer to Lee in third place.
Meanwhile, Glenn’s teammates Ryo Mizuno and Takumi Takahashi progressed straight into today’s SUPERPICKS Q2 with Takumi seventh and Ryo ninth after FP1. BSB rookie Tom Neave also made it through to Q2, having finished third fastest in Q1.
Q2 was the first time this season that the Honda squad has seen all-four riders together in the session, where Takumi qualified 14th, Tom 15th and Ryo 16th respectively.
In the 15-lap race it was Tom who came home ahead of his Honda teammates Ryo and Takumi as he finished 13th, with Takumi hot on his heels in 14th and Ryo just behind in 15th.
#2 Glenn Irwin
“It’s been an enjoyable start to the weekend, obviously topping practice sessions is always nice! In qualifying we had some difficulties and areas where I think we can improve moving forward. We made a change for the race that perhaps maybe was a little the wrong way, but saying that the thing that pleases me most today is that the pace is good, but the feeling not so good. So if we can make the feeling good, then if the pace matches the improvement with the feeling, then I think tomorrow it’s realistic to go for 25 points. We want to go into Brands with a real chance, so tomorrow we need to do all we can to achieve that.”
#88 Ryo Mizuno
“I did my best but couldn’t finish in the position I wanted. We had an issue with the brakes from the start and I think 15th was the best I could do today. In general I think I am setting a good pace so I will do my best again tomorrow in the two races.”
#13 Takumi Takahashi
“It was difficult to ride in less than perfect conditions for all sessions of the free practices, and it was difficult to check what I wanted to try. It was good to get straight to Q2 today, but I wasn’t able to set an ideal time in qualifying. During the race I lost a few positions after the start, but towards the second half of the race I got into a better rhythm and will be ready for the two races tomorrow.”
#68 Tom Neave
“It’s been a strong start to the weekend and I’m really satisfied with today’s progression. I set a new personal best lap time on the GP track, got into Q2 for the first time all year, which sounds horrendous, but it’s progress for me and I converted it into a 13th place in the race. It’s all another step forward, but I still feel there’s more to come. I’ve gone back a few places on the grid for tomorrow’s first race, however I have a good track position off the start on the outside of the track, so hopefully we get a clean getaway and can continue to build. Overall I’m feeling very happy, I’m comfortable with the Fireblade and we’ll continue to work hard tomorrow.”
Glenn Irwin and the Honda Racing UK team are leaving the penultimate round of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship at Donington Park celebrating after Glenn claimed a double podium, finishing both races in third place aboard the CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP.
The first race of the day saw Glenn start from sixth on the grid, but it wasn’t long until he was in the group battling for fourth place. Passing his brother Andrew on the ninth lap to take third place, he remained in the podium spot for the rest of race, able to hold off the chasing pack to complete the podium.
The final race of the day was a nail-biting one for the Honda team watching the action unfold from the garage, with Glenn and current title leader Bradley Ray battling for the win. Trading places throughout the shortened 18-lap race, Glenn was leading when on the 14th lap his foot peg snapped and he dropped back to third.
Putting in a heroic effort Glenn fought hard over the remaining laps, and when Tommy Bridewell passed him taking the third-place spot, he fought back taking back the podium place and crossing the line to take an impressive second podium of the weekend. The results from today see Glenn move up to second in the overall standings, where he’s 66 points behind Bradley with the final round in just a few weeks time.
Takumi Takahashi enjoyed a solid weekend in the points finishing all three races in 15th, teammate Ryo Mizuno continued to improve across the weekend at Donington Park’s GP circuit, wrapping up the weekend 16th and 20th today.
BSB rookie Tom Neave had a mixed weekend; finishing 13th in yesterday’s Sprint Race, but a mistake in Race 2 today saw him crash out of the running while chasing down 14th place. Unhurt from the crash, he finished the final race of the weekend in the points in 14th place.
The Honda Racing UK team will now prepare for the final round of the 2022 Bennetts British Superbike Championship, which takes place at Brands Hatch on 14-15-16 October.
#2 Glenn Irwin
“I would say I’m speechless about the final race, but I’m never speechless! The first race today I didn’t realise that something wasn’t turned on that should have been turned on, I think it cost us a lot and I could have been up a step. The last race we had everything working as it should, the chassis was really good and the grip that I searched for all weekend was there. It was a very enjoyable race and I felt a lot stronger on the brakes. I had some good moves with Tom [Sykes], it’s nice when you’re fighting with a former World Champion when he’s on top form as well. Also with Bradley [Ray], he’s had a mega season so far, but to be able to fight with him is an amazing feeling. The foot peg snapping off will probably be the talking point, but there’s so many positives to take from this weekend instead. Touching on the foot peg I saw L3 on my board and thought I’m still in third and my foot was at times touching the back tyre, so I had find another place to put my foot. I tried everything I could and if the front was going to fold, then it was going to fold, because I couldn’t do anything to help as my centre of gravity was so high. When Tommy [Bridewell] went by, I don’t know, I just thought to myself ‘imagine if I got a podium with one foot peg!’ My team deserved a win today, and I hope they take the third place like a win because the Fireblade was incredible!”
#88 Ryo Mizuno
“I think it was a good weekend because we made improvements throughout. In Race 2 I couldn’t improve my pace in the early stages and in Race 3 I went off track and it didn’t really come together. But I’m happy because the atmosphere in the team was good and generally we finished the weekend on a happy note. The next and final race is quickly approaching, and I’m looking forward to working with the team again to make it a good end to the season!”
#13 Takumi Takahashi
“In Race 2 I did my best but my lap times were not good enough and I could not ride as I wanted. In Race 3 the machine feeling was a bit better, but my tyre management was not perfect and I lost some lap time in the second half of the race. It is positive that we have scored points in all three races, but it is still not enough and we will do everything we can for the final round at Brands Hatch.”
#68 Tom Neave
“It’s been a weekend of mixed emotions, I feel at the moment that I take one step forward and two steps back. Every time we seem to get a bit of momentum going, I mess it up for myself. I felt brilliant on the Fireblade this weekend, I enjoyed riding it and then I made a stupid mistake which cost me a strong result in Race 2 today. But we bounced back and got some more points in the last race. It should have been twelfth but I made some small mistakes and my tyre dropped in the last couple of laps, which cost me two positions and I ended up 14th. It’s been my average position when I’ve stopped on this year at the back end of the points, which is OK but I want to take that next step towards the top ten. Hopefully we can end the season on a high in a few weeks at Brands Hatch!”