Eazi-Grip supported Jason O’Halloran topped the times in the final Official Test ahead of the opening round of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship later this month. The McAMS Yamaha rider snatched the top spot on his final lap of the day to bring a thrilling end to pre-season testing in front of the returning fans at Donington Park.
O’Halloran had been at the top of the times during the early stages of the final session ahead of Honda Racing’s Glenn Irwin, but with 20 minutes remaining Christian Iddon had moved into second.
The final ten minutes of the test produced a flurry of faster laps and Danny Kent, who had been quickest in the opening session for Buildbase Suzuki, went fastest with just over eight minutes remaining.
O’Halloran then reclaimed the position just seconds later as Glenn Irwin moved back into second place, but the order didn’t remain for long as Kyle Ryde fired the Rich Energy OMG Racing BMW ahead with four minutes remaining.
It wasn’t over however, as Tarran Mackenzie leapt up the order to post the benchmark time as the session approached the final two minutes. The McAMS Yamaha rider didn’t remain fastest though, his teammate saving his best till last. O’Halloran’s final lap of the day was enough to put him 0.184s clear by the finish.
Ryde held onto third place at the chequered flag, narrowly holding off Glenn Irwin with Kent completing the top five. The Buildbase Suzuki rider edged out defending champion Josh Brookes into sixth place as five different manufactures featured in the top six positions.
Christian Iddon was seventh fastest on the second of the VisionTrack Ducatis with Gino Rea, Lee Jackson and Peter Hickman completing the top ten.
Bennetts British Superbike Championship, Donington Park, Official Test, combined times:
Combined times: 1st – 1’05.725
“It’s obviously nice to finish pre-season testing on top but I’m more pleased with how we performed in the second session today. I set my fastest lap on the last lap of a 26 lap race run and felt really good and comfortable on the bike. The boys have done a really great job this pre-season and the bike has improved from where we were last year. I’ve got a really good feeling with it, I feel I can go fast whenever I want to. We’ve still got a few things to work on as we increase the speed so we’ll work on that between now and Oulton. I can’t wait to start racing now, it’s been a long time since October last year. We’ve had a great pre-season, so now it’s time to reap the rewards of our work.”
Combined times: 2nd – 1’05.909
“I’m really happy with how today went. We came here with the setting we found at Knockhill and chipped away all day. We had a good feeling straight away with the bike so it was a case of fine-tuning that. Even when we’d done a few laps on the tyres we were still pretty quick, I’d have liked to have done one long run but the laps we did get in I was very happy with. From where we started the first test at Silverstone to where we are now I’m a lot happier so it’s a nice way to end testing and I’m looking forward to Oulton Park in two weeks’ time.”
McAMS Yamaha Team Principal
“We all know that testing is testing but to leave the final test of the year 1-2 on the timesheet is a really nice feeling for the team. The guys have put a lot of work in through the winter to make a step forward with the bike and we really believe we have achieved that. To have both riders setting such great lap times goes some way to showing that and it’s not just when they stick a tyre in either; Jason has been setting some very good lap times at the end of race runs and Taz made a huge step over the last two tests in getting more comfortable with the bike so I genuinely believe we are in a very strong position for the opening round. Obviously it’s easy to say that now, but we’ll find out in a couple of weeks and I cannot wait to get going.”