Eazi Grip

Our supported British Superbikes teams and riders preparing for Donington Park this weekend

McAMS Yamaha

The McAMS Yamaha team are looking to return to winning ways in the penultimate round of the 2023 Bennetts British Superbike Championship at Donington Park this weekend.

The iconic midlands venue hosts Round 11 of the championship with battle set to commence on the 2.498-mile circuit as the title fight heads up. As ‘Round 2’ of the ‘Showdown, 25 points per victory are available this weekend before things ramp up even further for the finale at Brands Hatch, where a combined maximum of 105 points are available from the last three races of the season.

After a challenging weekend last time out at Oulton Park, Jason O’Halloran sits 84 points off series leader Glenn Irwin, but is determined to recover lost ground at the venue where he took his first victory of 2023 earlier this year.

Donington has proved a happy hunting ground for the team in the past, and O’Halloran was able to kick-start his 2023 season with a commanding win at the Leicestershire circuit back in May with lap records tumbling thanks to a full resurfacing in the winter.

Joining Aussie O’Halloran in the garage this weekend will be twice World Endurance Champion and Yamaha Motor Europe WorldSBK test rider Niccolo Canepa, who will make his British Superbike debut.

Familiar with the R1 having raced it in various series in recent years, including but not limited to World Superbike, the Endurance World Championship and the Italian Superbike Championship, Canepa is also experienced at Donington Park having raced the circuit on numerous occasions in the past, most recently with the official PATA Yamaha WorldSBK team in 2016. The Italian has also tasted victory at Donington in his title-winning 2007 FIM Superstock Cup campaign.

Practice gets underway on Friday ahead of Qualifying and the Bike Social Sprint on Saturday with the two main feature races taking place on Sunday.

Jason O’Halloran
Championship: 6th (276.5 points)

“We left Oulton a little frustrated as no matter what we tried across the weekend, we couldn’t quite get the feeling right. Since then, we’ve looked at the data and understood a lot and this has been able to give us a plan for Donington that gives me quite a lot of confidence. We were quick in every session there earlier this year and won a race, so we’ll start pretty much where we left off from that round. These are the last two rounds for McAMS Yamaha as a team and we’ll be doing everything possible to ensure the team can go out on a high, hopefully with a few more wins!”

Niccolò Canepa
McAMS Yamaha

“I’m really excited to take part in BSB for the first time! The level of the championship and the competitors is extremely high and I have a lot to learn about the bike and the electronics but I can’t wait to spin the first laps on Friday. I love Donington and I’ve raced there with STK1000 World Cup, WorldSBK and MotoGP, and I’m really curious to try the new surface as feedback from the WorldSBK guys was very positive. There’s no better team to be making my BSB debut with, so I can’t wait to get started!”

Steve Rodgers
Team Principal

“We can’t pretend we were happy with the results from Oulton Park; we don’t go racing to finish eighth and ninth, so we put our heads together after the weekend and highlighted a few areas for change. We won a race at Donington earlier in the year and were quick throughout the weekend, so we’ll be starting from exactly where we left off back May and hopefully that will be enough to get Jason back up the sharp end.

“We’re quite excited to see what Niccolo makes of our R1, we’ve worked very hard to develop the bike over the last few years working closely with the team in Europe so it will be very good to hear his feedback as the official test rider. In terms of results, we know that BSB is a very challenging field and this is Niccolo’s first time racing in the championship so there is no pressure from our side. It obviously helps that he’s raced at Donington before and with it being an ‘international’ style circuit it should suit him.”

BeerMonster PBM Ducati

BeerMonster Ducati riders Glenn Irwin and Tommy Bridewell head into the penultimate round of the 2023 Bennetts British Superbike Championship looking to continue their recent domination.

Just half a point separates the pair arriving at Donington Park following a clean sweep of six successive victories at the previous two rounds with Ulsterman Irwin holding the narrowest of advantages over Devizes rider Bridewell with both riders winning eight races each so far this year for the Lake District-based team.

Following an emotional past month having lost team owner Paul Bird and the subsequent tributes at Oulton Park and since then at his well-attended funeral, Paul’s daughter Jordan and son Frank have taken up the mantle of running the team and are now focusing on the quest for an unprecedented ninth BSB title for the PBM team.

The two BeerMonster Ducati riders have a healthy 60-point gap at the top of the table but with enhanced points on offer again in the three races at Donington Park this weekend, which escalate even higher into the three Brands Hatch races two weeks afterwards, both Irwin and Bridewell know they need to be on top of their game once again.

However, earlier in the season, Donington Park was just one of two tracks out of the nine rounds so far where either or both riders didn’t score a victory so they will aim to rectify that at a track both riders traditionally go well at with a combined total of ten podiums between them.

Glenn Irwin: “We will get back to business this weekend after a very emotional few weeks paying our various tributes to Paul. But just like at Oulton, we have work to do and that’s to focus our efforts and continue the job in hand. The journey this season keeps getting better and is something I’m very much enjoying as we chase the championship. I’m looking at the end goal rather than each race and whatever will be will be. We didn’t have the best of luck at Donington earlier in the season, but we were strong and had good pace, so the plan is to keep the recent winning run going.”

Tommy Bridewell: “It’s been an emotional time for everyone in the team as we said our farewells to Paul but now, we need to do him proud by maintaining our challenge for the title. Oulton wasn’t ideal for me but that’s history and all I’m concentrating on is this weekend at Donington. I suffered my one and only technical failure all season when leading there earlier in the season so I’m 100% focused on gaining as many points as I can. The plan is to leave Donington in a stronger position than when I arrived and if I can do that, then it’s game on for the final round at Brands Hatch.”   

John Mowatt, Team Co-Ordinator: “It’s fair to say emotions were running very high both on and off the track at Oulton Park which is understandable given the situation with losing Paul and both our riders being so hungry to win. We’ve all had a chat and suffice to say, we are totally united more than ever in our quest to win the BSB title for a ninth time. We didn’t enjoy the best of fortunes at Donington earlier in the year, but we know we have a great chance to continue our unbeaten run and if we can manage that, we will get a little bit closer to achieving our dream.”

Lee Jackson – Cheshire Mouldings Kawasaki

Lee Jackson claimed his first triple podium finish at Oulton Park and as the Bennetts British Superbike Championship reaches the penultimate round at Donington Park this weekend, the Cheshire Mouldings Kawasaki rider is determined to maintain that form.

Jackson holds fifth in the overall standings, trailing Leon Haslam ahead of him by just 2.5 points, and with six races remaining, the Lincolnshire contender is focused on ending the season on a high as he targets climbing the standings this weekend.

Jackson said: “Going back to Donington Park, obviously at the start of the year we actually had our best round up until later in the season, so I am looking forward to go back. This time we are going there with the suter swingarm in the bike not the factory one, so in my mind, I’m feeling more confident, especially after a really strong Oulton Park.

Oulton Park was a great weekend as I got my first triple podium in BSB. We were strong all weekend, and I think we have the same mind-set for Donington Park; we’re just going to go there, fresh out the box on Friday, build up and work on getting the bike ready for the races.

“I feel like we can be competitive in any conditions so I am looking forward to getting stuck in. I don’t see why we can’t fight for a podium again and try to close down to third in the championship. If we can come away from the weekend even closer to third, then that’s going to make Brands Hatch really interesting and exciting to finish the year and finish the chapter with FS-3 Racing and Cheshire Mouldings Kawasaki.

“I think it’s going to be again, a four or five way battle and likely that Jason will come back strong again, maybe Josh, even Pete, but obviously the championship between Tommy and Glenn, is just hotting up. Kyle is always strong there, so they’re the guys to watch going into the weekend, and I don’t see why I can’t be one of those guys as well!”

Kyle Ryde – LAMI OMG Racing Yamaha

Kyle Ryde is hoping for a repeat performance of his winning success earlier in the Bennetts British Superbike Championship season at Donington Park this weekend as the LAMI OMG Racing Yamaha rider aims to claw back the deficit in the standings.

On the first visit to Donington Park earlier in the season, Ryde impressed by setting the fastest ever lap of the newly resurfaced circuit and claimed a double win and was leading the other when he made an error and crashed out. With 60 points separating him and Glenn Irwin at the top of the standings, Ryde is determined to cut the advantage at his home round this weekend.

Ryde said: “Oulton Park was a solid weekend but nowhere near as good as I expected or what I wanted, but the Ducatis were dominant there. I was just trying to hang on as best as I could and rode the best I could and I managed to take a trophy home, which was a bonus!

“It wasn’t what we wanted but we are now heading into Donington Park, somewhere where we know I rode well at the start of the year. I crashed out whilst leading one race and won the other two and Rider of the Round so hopefully we can pull one of them off again!

“Hopefully we can claw a few points back this weekend and cause a few problems but I am looking forward to getting back there and the forecast is looking dry all weekend, so I will be pulling my finger out and doing my best! I have a lot of people coming to watch and support me, so hopefully a couple of first place trophies would be great and then we can get our head stuck down for the last round at Brands Hatch to see what we can do there.”

Posted on Wednesday, September 27th, 2023 in News

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